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tT. E. PAGE, C.H., LJTT.D. 

E. CAPPS. PH.D., IX. D. \V. H. D. ROLSE, Ltrr.i). 














Co p. ^ 

First Printed, 1917. 
Reprinted, 1927, 1938. 








MEDEA 225 





Lucius Annaeus Sexeca, commonly called the 
Philosopher to distinguish him from his father, 
Marcus Annaeus Seneca, the Rhetorician, was bom 
close to the beginning of the Christian era, whether 
shortly before or shortly after is not certain. He, as 
was his father before him. was born at Cordova in 
Spain, the birthplace also of his brilliant nephew, 
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus. Other notable Spaniards 
in Roman literature were Columella, born in Gades, 
Martial, in Bilbilis, and Quintilian, in Calagurris. 

The younger Seneca was brought to Rome in 
early infancy and received his training there. He 
was a Senator under Caligula and Claudius, and 
in 41 A.D., through the machinations of Messalina, 
was ordered by the emperor into exile at Corsica. 
Thence he was recalled in 49 through the in- 
fluence of Agrippina, now the wife of Claudius, and 
to him was entrusted the education of Agrippina's 
son, Domitius, afterwards the emperor Xero. During 
the early years of Nero's reign, the philosopher had 
a large influence over his pupil and was virtual ruler 
for a time. But Nero later became jealous of 
Seneca's wealth and influence, and, seizing upon the 


pretence of Seneca's complicity in the conspiracy of 
Piso, he forced his old tutor to commit suicide in the 
year 65. 

In pliilosopliy Seneca was a Stoic, but was in- 
fluenced also by the teachings of ^fhe Pythagoreans. 
His literary fame rests largely upon his philosophical 
prose works, concerning which Teuffel remarks : 
" He started from the Stoic system, but in him its 
barren austerity was toned down, the harshness 
softened, its crotchets laid aside ; nor did he disdain 
additions from other systems. His paramount pur- 
pose is the forcible and eloquent presentation and 
advocacy of moral principles conducive to the benefit 
of the individual and of society." 

A group of nine tragedies has also come down to 
us, assigned by tradition to Senecan authorship. A 
tenth tragedy, the Octavia, has been transmitted with 
the other nine, but there is fairly good ground for 
doubting its authenticity.^ As to the nine, there is 
no good reason for not considering them the work of 
Seneca the Philosopher. They agree in general with 
the philosophical principles and spirit of the prose 
works, exhibit the same stylistic peculiai'ities (allowing 
for the natural difference between prose essay and 
dramatic poetry) and by their clear stylistic agreement 
among themselves can readily be accepted as the 
work of one hand. It should in fairness be said, 
however, that all critics are not in agreement as to 
the assignment of all the nine tragedies to Seneca. 
^ See note prefixed to the Oclavia. 


The place of the tragedies of Seneca in literature is 
unique. They stand, with the exception of a few 
fragments, as the sole surviving representatives of an 
extensive Roman product in the tragic drama. They 
therefore serve as the only connecting link between 
ancient and modern tragedy. They parallel more or 
less closely the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, 
and Euripides ; and the Greek and Roman product 
in literature along similar lines cannot be better 
studied than by a comparison of these Senecan plays 
with their Greek prototypes — a compirison which 
is not possible in comedy, since, unfortunately, the 
Greek originals of Plautus and Terence have not 
come down to us, except in comparatively scanty 

And yet, while Seneca's tragedies do in most cases 
parallel the Greek tragedies on corresponding themes, 
a careful comparative analysis of the Greek and the 
Latin plays shows quite clearly that Seneca did not 
take the Greeks for his model in any slavish manner, 
but, on the contrary, is in many instances surprisingly 
independent of them both in the introduction of 
new material and in his use of material common 
to both. So far as we can judge from the extant 
fragments, the earlier ' Roman dramatists, Ennius, 
Pacuvius and Accius, followed their Greek models, 
especially Euripides, much more closely, almost to 
the point of sheer translation. 

These plays of Seneca are of great value and 
interest in themselves, first, as independent dramatic 



literature of no small merit ; and second, as an illus- 
tration of the literary characteristics of the age of 
Nero. It has become -quite the fashion among 
litei'ary critics who include Seneca within their range 
of observation to pass very harsh judgment upon 
these tragedies. And they are indeed open to criti- 
cism from the standpoint of modern taste, with their 
florid rhetorical style, their long didactic speeches, 
their almost ostentatious pride of mytliologic lore, 
their over-sensationalism, which freely admits the 
horrible and uncanny, their insistent employment of 
the epigram ; and, finally, their introduction of 
situations which would be impossible from the stand- 
point of the technique of practical drama. 

But in answer to the critic of Seneca's rhetorical, 
faults it should be said that these were the faults of 
his age, an age when form, when rhetorical devices, 
when mere locution, had come to be magnified unduly ; 
and as to the shortcomings, or rather the overdoings, 
of these tragedies from the standpoint of dramatic 
technique, the obvious answer is that these plays 
were not written for the stage and there is no evi- 
dence that they were acted. This was the age of the 
declaimer, and it is from the standpoint of declama- 
tion that we must both explain the composition of 
the tragedies and attempt an interpretation of their 
meaning and an appreciation of their style. 

Superficially, Seneca's tragedies present no great 
difficulties to the translator. But a conscientious 
attempt to interpret them faithfully encounters the 



greatest difficulties, which are chargeable partly to 
confusion in the text due to imperfect transmission, 
but chiefly to the extreme terseness in Seneca's style, 
especially in his epigrams ; for it is in the epigram- 
matic part of the plays that the difficulties in inter- 
pretiition chiefly lie. Difficulties in translation arise 
also from Seneca's fondness for displaying his 
mythologic lore, frequently resulting in allusions to 
points so abstruse as to puzzle the reader who is not 
thoroughly versed in mythology. 

But Seneca, for all his rhetorical liabilities, has 
some very considerable literary assets. The choruses 
are, indeed, often prosy, malapropos and disappoint- 
ing ; but here and there we find in these the ring of 
true poetry, exquisite in its descriptions of natural 
scenery, genuine in its human touches, and appro- 
priate to the dramatic situation. Such is the chorus 
in Hercules Furens (lines 125 ff".), in Troaies (1009 ff.), 
in Medea (301 ff.), Agamemnon (52 ff.). He has in his 
reciialivo passages admirable descriptions of natural 
scenery and simple life, as in Hippolylus (482 ff.) ; 
spirited expressions of lofty sentiment, as in Hercules 
Furens (925 flF.) ; speeches expressing deep and real 
passion, as throughout the first half of the Pkoenissae, 
in Medea (199 ff), Hercules Furens (1321 if), Hippolylus 
(195 ff"., 566 ff., 671 ff.), Hercules Oetaeus (1377 ff.), 
Troades (766 ff., 888 ff.) ; and numerous sentenliae, 
terse, epigrammatic statements of general ethical 
truths, which are well worth remembrance and 


The reader will find many echoes of Vergil, 
Horace, and Ovid scattered through the plays, which 
serve to claim the tragedies for Latin literature not- 
withstanding their Greek models. Looking in the 
other direction, we find that the influence of Seneca's 
tragedies upon succeeding literature, especially upon 
English literature in the case of pre-Elizabethan and 
Elizabethan drama, is very great. A glance at the 
bibliograj)hy following will show something of the 
extent and importance of this influence. 

The text on which this translation is based is that 
of Leo (VVeidmann, Berlin, 1 879) except as otherwise 
explained in the critical notes. Leo's (i.e. the Ger- 
man) ])unctuation, however, has been freely changed, 
especially in regard to the continual use of the colon,. 
in order to bring the text into conformity with 
common English usage. 


I. — The Mascscripts 

E Codex Etruscus or Laiirentiamis, a manuscript now in 
the Laurentian Library in Florence. This is the most trust- 
worthy manuscript for the text of the plays. Leo calls it 
unicuvi lectionis universae fundamentum, unicum genuini 
tragoediarum corporis exemplar. 

To be classed with E, as representing the same recension, 
are R, T, (both fragments and extracts only), and 2, a lost 
copy of E, archetype of M and N. 

A An inferior and corrupt recension, to which the other 
minor manuscripts belong (A^, y^, a). 

n. — Editioks 

Editio Princeps. Andreas Gallicus (printer), at Ferrara. 
Between 1474 and 1484. 

In L. Anvaei Senecae Corduhenslt Poelae Gravissimi Tragoe- 
diaa Decern, Amplissima Adversaria quae loco commen- 
tarii esse possunt. Ex bibliotheca Martini Antonii Delrii. 
Antwerpiae : Ex otBcina Christophori Plantini, Archi- 
typographi Regii, 1576. 

L. Annaei Senecae Tragoediae, recensuit Johannes Fredericus 
Gronovios. Lugduni Batavorum, ex officina Elzeviriana, 

L. Annaei Senecae Tragoediae, cam notis integris Gronovii, 
et selectis Lipsii, Delrii, Grnteri, Commelini, Scaligeri, 
D. & N. Heinsioruni, Farnabii aliorumque ; itemque 
observationibus nonnuUis Hugonis Grotii. Omnia recen- 
suit ; notas, animadversationes, atcjue indicem novum 
locupletissimumque adiecit ; ipsum vero auctoris Syn- 
tagma cum MS. codice contulit Johannes Casparus 
Schroederus. Delphis, apud Adrianum Beman, 1728. 

L. Annaei Senecae Tragoediae, recensuerunt Rudolfus Peiper 
et Gustavus Richter. Teubner, 1867. 

L. Annaei Senecae Tragoediae, recensuit et emendavit 
Fredericus Leo. 2 vols. Berolini : Weidmann, 1878, 
1879. Vol. I. De Senecae Tragoediis observationea 
criticae, 1878. Vol. II. Senecae Tragoedias et Octaviam 
continens, 1879. 



L. Annaet Senecae Tragoediae, recensuerunt Rudolfus Peiper 
et Gustavus Richter. Peiperi subsidiis instruotus denuo 
edeiidas curavit Gustavus Richter. Teubner, 1902. 

Three Tragedies : Hercules Furens, Troades, Medea. With 
Introduction and Notes. By H. M. Kingery. New 
York : The Macmillan company, 1908. 

III.— Critical Notes (Textual) 

" R. Bentlei notas ad Senecae tragoedias emendandas editioni 
Gronovianae adscriptas primus edidit A. Stachelscheid 
in Jahni annalibus (12.5, p. 481 sq.), posteum etcopiosius 
et rectius PI Hedicke in Studiorum Bentleianorum 
fasciculo altero p. 9 sg." (Seneca Bentleianus, Freien- 
waldiae, 1899.) 

Paul Koetschau, "Zu Seneca's Tragoedien," Philol. Vol. 61 
(1902), p. 13.3 seq. 

Mich. Miiller, In Senecae tragoedias quaestiones crilicae. 
Berolini, 1898. 

B. Schmidt, De Emendandarum Senecae tragoediarumration- 
ibiis prosodiacis et vietricis. Berolini, 1860. 

Ohservationes criticae in L. A. Senecae Tragoedias. Jenae, 


J. Withof, Praemetium crucium criticarum praecipue ex 
Seneca tragico. Lug. Bat. 1749. 

IV.— Translations 

The Tenne Tragedies of Seneca. Translated into English 
(1581). Two parts. Printed for the Spenser society, 
1887 (Nos. 43, 44). 

Les Tragedies de Sdneque. Trad, en vers frang. Par Benoit 
Baudouyn. Troyes, 1629. 

Les Tragedies de S6nique en lalin et enfranq. De la traduc- 
tion de M. de MaroUes. Paris, 1659. 

Tragedias de Sineca. Traduccion en verso de Angel Lasso 
de la Vega. Madrid, 1783. 

Senekas Tragoedien nebst den Fragmenten der iihrigen rom. 
Tragiker. Uebers. von W. A. Swoboda. Three vols. 
Vienna u. Prague, 1825. 

See under Studies and Appreciations — Dte Tragoedien Sniecas 
in Original und Uebersetzimg, etc. By Rudolf Fischer, 



The Ten Tragedies of Seneca, with text and notes. Ren- 
dered into English Prose as equivalently as the idioms of 
both languages permit. By Watson Bradshaw. London : 
Swan, Sonnenschein and Co., 1902. 

The Tragedies of Seneca. Rendered into English verse, by 
Ella Isabel Harris. London : Henry Frowde, 1904. 

The Tragedies of Seneca. Translated into English verse, to 
which have been appended comparative analyses of the 
corresponding Greek and Roman plays, and a mytho- 
logical index, b\' Frank Justus Miller; introduced by 
an essay on the influence of the tragedies of Seneca upon 
early English drama, by John Matthews Manly. 
Chicago : The University of Chicago Press ; London : 
T. Fisher Unwin, 1907. 

The Elizabethan Translations of Seneca's Tragedies. By 
E. M. Spearing, Cambridge, 1912. 

V. — Studies and Appreciations 

Post- Augustan Poetry from Senera to Juvenal. By H. E. 

■ Butler. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1909. 
" Senecan Tragedy" in English Literature and the Classics, a 

series of essays collected by G. S. Gordon. Oxford : 

Clarendon Press, 1912. 
Geschichte der Rfymisrhen Dichtung. By Otto Ribbeck. 

(Vol. IIL pp. 52-88.) Stuttgart, 1892. 
Etudes sur les Tragiques Grecs. Two vols. Bv H. Patin. 

Paris : Hachette et Cie, 1894. 
Etudes de Moeurs et de Critique sur les Poetes La/ins de la 

Decadence. Two vols. By D. Nisard. Paris : Hachette 

et Cie, 1834, 1878. The tragedies of Seneca are dis- 
cussed in vol. I. pp. 57-198. 
£tude sur la Phedre de Racine el V Hippolyle de Sineque. By 

August Knig. Progr. des Gymn. Buchsweiler. Colmar, 

Etudes sur Trois Tragedies de S^neque, Imilies (TEuripide. 

By Widal. Aix, 1854. 
"The Influence of the Tragedies of Seneca upon Early 

English Drama." By John M. Manly. In Miller's 

verse translation, q.v. 
"Comparative Analyses of Seneca's Tragedies and the 

Corresponding Greek Dramas." Bj' Frank Justus 

Miller. In Miller's verse translation, q.v. 



" Die Tragoedien Senecas in Original und Uebersetzung." — 
"Copien Senecas." — "Nachwirkungen Senecas und seiner 
Copien." In Zur Kunstentwicklung der englischen Tra- 
qoedie von ihren ersten An/dngen bis zu Shakespeare, 
by Rudolf Fischer. Strassburg, 1893. 

"Seneca's Influence upon ' Gorboduc '." By H. Schmidt. 
Modern Language Notes 2 (1887), pp. 28-35. 

Seneca's Influence on Robert Gamier, ^y Hans Max Schmidt- 
Wartenburg. Diss. Cornell University, 1888. 

A Comparison of the Medea of Eurijndes and the Medea oj 
Seneca. By Lee Byrne. University of Chicago, Diss., 

Senecas Eiufluss auf Jean de La Peruse's Midee und Jean de 
La 'Taille's La Famine ou les Gabeonites. By Otto 
Kulcke. Inaugural Diss. Greifswald, 1884. 

"Jean de La Taille's Famine in Verhaltnis zu Seneca's 
Troades." By Otto Kulcke. Zeitschrift fiir nenfranzos- 
ische Sprache und Litteratur. Supplementheft III, 1885. 

"Die Entstehungder Hamlet-Tragoedie. III. Der Urhamlet 
und Seneca." By G. Sarrazin. A7iglia 13 (1891). 

S^neque et Hardy. L'inflnence de S^neque sur le poete tragique 
Alexandre Hardy. By Jules Beraneck. Diss. Lpzg. 1880. 

Early English Classical Tragedies. Edited with notes and 
introductions. By John W. Cunliffe. Oxford : Claren- 
don Press, 1912. 

The Influence of Seneca upon Elizabethan Tragedy. John 
W. Cunliffe. London: Macmillan and Co., 1893. An- 
astatic reprint published by G. E. Stechert, New York, 

VI. —Indices 

" Index Verborum et Loeutionum quae in contextu Tragoed. 

L.A. Senecae occurrunt." pp. 803 ff. of the text and 

commentary edition of Johannes Casparus Schroederus, 

"Index of Mythological Subjects in the Tragedies of Seneca." 

By Frank Justus Miller. In Miller's verse translation, 

pp. 499 ff. 
An Index Verborum for the Tiagedics of Seneca is being 

prepared by Professors Oldfather, Pease, and Canter 

for publication in the University of Illinois Studies in 

Language and Literature. 



Hercules, son of Jupiter and Alcviaui, hut the reputed son oj 

Juno, sister and ivife of Jupiter, and queen of Heaven. 

Amphitkyon, husband of Alcmena. 

Theseus, king of A thens and friend of Hercules. 

LtcUS, the usurpin/j king of Thebes, who has, prior to tht 
opening of the flay, slain King Creon in battle. 

MegARA, vnfe of Hercules and daughter of Creon. 

Chorus of Thebans. 

The Scbne is laid before the princely palace of Hercules at 
Thebes, on the day of the return of the hero from the lower 


Thf. Jealous wrath of Juno, tvorking through Eurystheus, 
has imposed twelve mighty and destructive tasks on 
Hercules, her hated stepson. But these, even to Ike 
last and worst, the bringing of Cerberus to the upper 
world, he has triumphantly accomplished. Abandoning 
her plan of a'ushing him by toils like these, she will 
turn his hand against himself, and so accomplish his de- 
struction. Upon the day of his return from hell she 
brings a madness on him, and so precipitates the tragedy 
which forms the action of the play. 



SoROR Tonantis (hoc enim solum niihi 
nomeu relictum est) semper alienum lovem 
ac templa summi vidua deserui aetheris 
locuraque caelo pulsa paelicibus dedi ; 
tellus colenda est, paelices caelum teiient. 
hinc Arctos alta parte glacial is poli 
sublime classes sidus Argolicas agit ; 
hinc, qua tepenti ' vere laxatur dies, 
Tyriae per undas vector Europae nitet ; 
illiuc timendum ratibus ac ponto gregera 
passim vagantes exerunt Atlantides. 
ferro minax hinc terret Orion deos 
suasque Perseus aureus Stellas liabet ; 
hinc clara gemini signa Tyndaridae micant 
quibusque natis mobilis tellus stetit. 
nee ipse tantum Bacchus aut Bacchi parens 
adiere superos ; ne qua pars probro vacet, 
mundus puellae serta Cnosiacae gerit. 

* So Jiiehter, with AE^ : Leo recenti, E^H 




The sister of the Thunderer (for this name only is 
left to me), I have abandoned Jove, always's 
lover ; widowed, have left the spaces of high heaven 
and, banished from the sky, have given up my 
place to harlots ; I must dwell on earth, for harlots 
hokl the sky.^ Yonder the Bear, high up in tlie 
icy North, a lofty constellation, guides the Argive 
ships ; yonder, where in the warm springtime the 
days grow long, he ^ shines who bore the Tyrian 
Europa across the waves ; there the Atlantides,^ far 
wandering, put forth their band dreadful to ships 
and sea alike. Here Orion with threatening sword 
terrifies the gods, and golden Perseus has his stars ; 
the bright constellation of the twin Tyndaridae 
shines yonder, and they at whose birth the unsteady 
land stood firm.* And not alone has Bacchus himself 
or the mother of Bacchus attained the skies ; that 
no place might be free from outrage, the heavens 
wear the crown of the Cretan maid.^ 

* In Greek mythology the constellations which the iwet 
names all have their place in the sky as the result of some 
amorous intrigue of Jupiter. * The Bull. 

* The reference would be more naturally to the Hyades as 
bringers of stormy weather ; but nevertheless the Pleiades are 

leritly meant, since three of these had been beloved of Jove. 
Index i.v. " Pleiades." 

* See Index s.v. " Delos." • Ariadne. 

Sed Vetera querimur : una me dira ac fera 

Thebana tellus sparsa nuribus impiis 20 

quotiens novercam fecit ! escendat licet 

meumque victrix teneat Alcmene locum, 

pariterque natus astra promissa occupet, — 

in cuius ortus mundus impendit diem 

tardusque Eoo Phoebus effulsit mari 

retinere mersum iussus Oceano iubar,— 

non sic abibunt odia ; vivaces aget 

violentus iras animus et saevus dolor 

aeterna bella pace sublata geret. 

Quae bella ? quidcjuid horridum tellus creat 30 

inimica, quidquid pontus aut aer tulit 

terribile dirum pestilens atrox ferum, 

fractum atque doniitum est. superat et crescit malls 

iraque nostra fruitur; in laudes suas 

mea vertit odia ; dum nimis saeva impero, 

patrem probavi, gloriae feci locum. 

qua Sol reducens quaque deponens diem 

binos propinqua tinguit Aethiopas face, 

indomita virtus colitur et toto deus 

narratur orbe. monstra iam desiint mihi 40 

minorque labor est Herculi iussa exequi, 

quam mihi iubere ; laetus imperia excipit. 

quae fera tyranni iura violento queant 

nocere iuveni ? nempe pro telis gerit 

quae timuit et quae fudit ; armatus venit 

leone et hydra, nee satis terrae patent ; 

effregit ecce limen inferni lovis 



^^ But I lament ancient wrongs ; one land, the 
baneful and savage land of Thebes, scattered thick 
with shameless mistresses, how oft has it made me 
stepdame ! Yet, though Alcmena be exalted and in 
triumph hold my place ; though her son, likewise, 
obtain his promised star (for whose begetting ^ tlie 
world lost a day, and Phoebus with tardy light shone 
forth from the Eastern sea, bidden to keep his 
bright car sunk beneath Ocean's waves), not in such 
fashion shall my hatred have its end ; my angry 
soul shall keep up a long-living wrath, and my raging 
smart, banishing peace, shall wage unending wars. 

^^ What wars? Whatever fearsome creature the 
hostile earth produces, whatever the sea or the air 
has borne, terrific, dreadful, noxious, savage, wild, 
has been broken and subdued. He rises anew and 
thrives on trouble ; he enjoys mv wrath ; to his own 
credit he turns my hate ; imposing too cruel tasks, 
I have but proved his sire, but given room for 
glory. Where the Sun, as he brings back, and 
where, as he dismisses day, colours both Etliiop races 
with neighbouring torch, his unconquered valour is 
adored, and in all the world he is storied as a god. 
Now I have no monsters left, and 'tis less labour for 
Hercules to fulfil my orders than for me to order; 
with joy he welcomes my commands. W'hat cruel 
biddings of his tyrant ^ could harm this impetuous 
youth .'' Why, he bears as weapons what he once 
fought and overcame ; he goes armed by lion and by 
hydra.' Nor is earth vast enough for him ; behold, 
he has broken down the doors of infernal Jove, and 

^ See Index s.r. "Hercules." 

* See Index t.v. "Eurystheus." 

* i.e. by the lion's skin, which he used as a shield, and by 
the hydra's poisonous gall in which he dipped his arrow-points. 


et opima victi regis ad superos refert. 
vidi ipsa, vidi nocte discussa inferum 
et Dite domito spolia iactantem patri 
fraterna. cur non vinctum et oppressum trahit 
ipsum catenis paria sortitum lovi 
Ereboque capto potitur et retegit Styga ? 
parum est reverti ; foedus umbrarum perit, 
patefacta ab imis manibus retro via est 
et sacra dirae mortis in aperto iacent. 
at ille, rupto carcere umbrarum ferox, 
de me triumphat et superbifica manu 
atrum per urbes ducit Argolicas canem. 
viso labantem Cerbero vidi diem 
pavidumque Solem ; me quoque invasit tremor, 
et terna monstri colla devicti intuens 
timui imperasse. 

Levia sed nimium queror ; 
caelo timendum est, regna ne summa occupet 
qui vicit ima — sceptra praeripiet patri. 
nee in astra lenta veniet ut Bacchus via ; 
iter niina quaeret et vacuo volet 
regnare mundo, robore experto tumet, 
et posse caelum viribus vinci suis 
didicit ferendo ; subdidit mundo caput 
nee flexit umeros molis immensae labor 
meliusque collo sedit Herculeo polus. 


brings back to the upper world the spoils ^ of a 
conquered king. I myself saw, yes, saw him, the 
shadows of nether night dispersed and Dis over- 
thrown, proudly displaying to his father a brother's 
spoils. VVhy does he not drag forth, bound and 
loaded down with fetters, Pluto himself, who drew a 
lot equal to Jove's ? Why does he not lord it over 
conquered Erebus and lay bare the Styx .'' It is not 
enough merely to return ; the law of the shades has 
been annulled, a way back has been opened from the 
lowest ghosts, and the mysteries of dread Death lie 
bared. But he, exultant at having burst the prison 
of the shades, triumphs over me, and with arrogant 
hand leads through the cities of Greece that dusky 
hound. I saw the daylight shrink at sight of Cerberus, 
ai;d the sun pale with fear ; upon me, too, terror came, 
and as I gazed upon the three necks of the conquered 
monster 1 trembled at my own command. 

^ But I lament too much o'er trivial wrongs. 'Tis 
for heaven we must fear, lest he seize the highest 
realms who has overcome the lowest — he will snatch 
the sceptre from his father. Nor will he come to 
the stars by a peaceful journey as Bacchus did ; he 
will seek a path through ruin, and will desire to rule 
in an empty universe. He swells with pride of 
tested might, and has learned by bearing them that 
the heavens can be conquered by his strength ; he 
set his head beneath the sky, nor did the burden of 
that immeasurable mass bend his shoulders, and the 
firmament rested better on the neck of Hercules.^ 

^ In Roman custom spolia opima were gained when a king 
met an opposing king in battle, conquered, and despoiled him. 
In this case the "spoil"' was Cerberus ; the '"king," Pluto, 
brother of Jupiter. 

* i.e. than it had on Atlas' shoulders. 

immota cervix sidera et caelum tulit 
et me prementem. quaerit ad superos viam. 

Perge, ira, perge et magna meditantem op)«-ime, 
congredere^ manibus ipsa dilacera tuis ; 
quid tanta mandas odia ? discedant ferae, 
ipse imperando fessus Eurystheus vacet. 
Titanas ausos rumpere imperium lovis 
emitte, Siculi verticis laxa specum, 8 

tellus gigante Doris excusso tremens 
supposita monstri colla terrifici levet^ 
sublimis alias Luna concipiat feras.^ 
sed vicit ista. quaeris Alcidae parem ? 
nemo est nisi ipse ; bella iam secum gerat. 
adsint ab imo Tartari fundo excitae 
Eumenides, ignem flammeae spargant comae, 
viperea saevae verbera incutiant manus. 

I nunc, superbe, caelitum sedes pete, 
liumana temne. iam Styga et manes feros 9' 

fugisse credis ? hie tibi ostendam inferos, 
revocabo in alta conditam caligine, 
ultra nocentum exilia, discordem deam, 
quam munit ingens mentis oppositi specus ; 
educam et imo Ditis e regno extraham 
quidquid relictum est ; veniet invisum Scelus 
suumque lambens sanguinem Impietas ferox 
Errorque et in se semper armatus Furor — • 
hoc hoc ministro noster utatur dolor ! 

^ Leo deletes this line. 


Unshaken, his back upbore the stars and the sky and 
me down-pressing. He seeks a way to the gods above. 
'^ Then on, my wrath, on, and crijsh this })lotter 
of^Kg^hingS^r^IosfirwinriiTm, thyself renH Kim~in^ ^ 
pieces with^ine own hands. Whj to another entrusty 
"such liateT/Let the wTTd^Tjeasts go tlieir ways, \ti 
fiiirystEeus rest, himself weary with imposing tasks. 
Set free the Titans ^ who dared invade the majesty 
of Jove ; unbar Sicily's mountain cave, and let the 
Dorian land,^ which trembles whenever the giant 
struggles, set free the buried frame of that dread 
monster; let Luna^ in the sky produce still other 
monstrous creatures. But he has conquered such as 
these. Dost then seek Alcides' match ? None is 
there save himself; now with himself let him war. 
Rouse the Eumenides from the lowest abyss of Tar- 
tarus ; let them be here, let their flaming locks drop 
fire, and let their savage hands brandish snaky whips. 
^^ Go now, proud one, seek the abodes of the im- 
mortals and despise man's estate. Dost think that 
now thou hast escaped the Styx and the cruel ghosts? 
Here will I show thee infernal shapes. One in deep 
darkness buried, far down below the place of banish- 
ment of guilty souls, will I call up — the goddess 
Discord, whom a huge cavern, barred by a mountain, 
guards ; I will bring her forth, and drag out from 
the deepest realm of Dis whatever thou hast left; 
hateful Crime shall come and reckless Impiety, stained 
with kindred blood, Error, and Madness, armed ever 
against itself — this,this be the minister of my smarting 
wrath ! 

1 For this whole passage see Index s.v. "Titans" and 
"fiiants." * Sicily. 

* The Nemean lion and other monsters were supposed to 
have fallen from the moon. 


Incipite, famulae Ditis^ ardentem citae 100 

concutite pinum et agmen horrendum anguibus 

Megaera ducat atque luctifica manu 

vastam rogo flagrante corripiat trabem. 

hoc agite, poenas petite vitiatae Stygis 

concutite pectus, acrior mentem excoquat 

quam qui caminis ignis Aetnaeis furit. 

ut possit animo captus Alcides agi, 

magno furore percitus, nobis ^ prius 

insaniendum est — luno, cur nondum furis ? 

me me, sorores, mente deiectam mea 110 

versate primam, facere si quicquam apparo 

dignum noverca. vota mutentur mea ; 

natos reversus videat incolumes precor 

manuque fortis redeat. inveni diem, 

invisa quo nos Herculis virtus iuvet. 

me vicit et se vincat et cupiat mori 

ab inferis reversus. hie prosit mihi 

love esse genitum. stabo et, ut certo cxeant 

emissa nervo tela, librabo manu, 

regam furentis arma, pugnanti Herculi 120 

tandem favebo. scelere perfecto licet 

admittat illas genitor in caelum manus ! 
Movenda iam sunt bella; clarescit dies 

ortuque Titan lucidus croceo subit. 


lam rara micant sidera prono 
languida mundo; nox victa vagos 
contrahit ignes luce renata, 

* 8o A : Leo vobia. 


'00 Begin, handmaids of Dis, make haste to bran- 
dish the burning pine ; let Megaeralead on her band 
bristling with serpents and with baleful hand snatch 
a huge faggot from the blazing pyre. To work ! 
claim vengeance for outraged Styx. Shatter his 
heart ; let a fiercer flame scorch his spirit than rages 
in Aetna's furnaces. That Alcides may be driven on, 
robbed of all sense, by mighty fury smitten, mine must 
be the frenzy first — Juno, why rav'st thou not ? Me, 
ye sisters, me first, bereft of reason, drive to madness, 
if I am to plan some deed woi-thy a stepdame's doing. 
Let my request be changed ; may he come back and 
find his sons unharmed, that is my prayer, and strong 
of hand may he return. I have found the day when 
Hercules' hated valour is to be my joy. Me has he 
overcome ; now may he overcome himself and long 
to die, though late returned from the world of death. 
Herein may it profit me that he is the son of Jove. 
I will stand by him and, that his shafts may fly 
from string unerring, I'll poise them with my hand, 
guide the madman's weapons, and so at last be on 
the side of Hercules in the fray. When he has done 
this crime, then let his father admit those hands to 
heaven .' 

^2' Now nmst my war be set in motion ; the sky is 
brightening and the shining sun steals up in saffron 

Now stars shine few and faint in the sinking sky ; 
vanquished night draws in her wandering fires as the 


cogit nitidum Phosphoros agmen ; 
signum celsi glaciale poli 

septem stellis Arcados ursae * 130 

lucem verso temone vocat. 
iam caeruleis evectus equis 
Titan summa prospicit Oeta ; 
iam Cadmeis incluta Bacchis 
aspersa die dumeta rubent 
Phoebique fugit reditura soror. 
labor exoritur durus et omnes 
agitat curas aperitque domos. 

Pastor gelida cana pruina 
grege diniisso pabula carpit ; 1 40 

ludit prato liber aperto 
nondum rupta fronte iuvencus, 
vacuae reparant ubera matres ; 
errat cursu levis incerto 
molli petulans haedus in herba ; 
pendet summo stridula ramo 
pennasque novo tradere soli 
gestit querulos inter nidos 
Thracia paelex, turbaque circa 
confusa sonat murmure mixto 150 

testata diem. 

carbasa ventis credit dubius 
navita vitae, laxos aura 
complente sinus, hie exesis 
pendens scopulis aut deceptos 
^ Leo deletes this line. 

new day is horn, and Pliosphor brings up the rear of 
the shining host ; the icy sign high in the north, the 
Bears of Areas, with their seven stars, with wheeling 
pole ^ summons the dawn. Now, upborne by his azure 
steeds. Titan peeps forth from Oeta's crest ; now the 
rough brakes, made famous by Theban Bacchants, 
touched by the dawn, flush red, and Phoebus' sister ^ 
flees away, to return again. Hard toil arises, sets all 
cares astir, opens all doors. 

139 -pjjg shepherd, turning out his flock, plucks 
pasturage still white with frosty rime. In the 
open mead the young bullock sports at will, his 
forehead not yet broken with young horns ; the kine 
at leisure fill again their udders ; the sportive kid 
with unsteady, aimless course wanders on the soft 
turf; perched on the topmost bough, shrill-voiced, 
amid her complaining young, the Thracian paramour^ 
is eager to spread her wings to the morning sun ; and 
all around a mingled throng sounds forth, proclaim- 
ing the dawn of day with varied notes. The sailor, 
life ever at risk, commits his canvas to the winds, while 
the breeze fills its flapping folds. Here the fisher, 
perched on the wave-worn rocks, either rebaits his 

^ The poet has mixed two conceptions of these constelhitions : 

(1) the Great Bear and Arctopliylax, the "bear-keeper"; 

(2) the "Wain " and the " Ox-driver" (Bootes). 
* Phoebe, the moon-goddess. 

^ Philomela, the nightingale, forced to be the mistress of 
the Thracian Tereus. 




instruit hamos aut suspensus 
spectat pressa praemia dextra ; 
sentit tremulum linea piscem. 

Haec, innocuae quibus est vitae 
tranquilla quies et laeta suo 
parvoque domus ; spes immanes 
urbibus errant trepidique metus. 
ille superbos aditus regum 
durasque fores expers somni 
colit, hie nullo fine beatas 
componit opes gazis inhians 
et congesto pauper in auro ; 
ilium populi favor attonitum 
fluctuque magis mobile vulgur 
aura tumidum tollit inani ; 
liic clamosi rabiosa fori 
iurgia vendens improbus iras 
et verba locat. novit paucos 
secura quies, qui velocis 
memores aevi tempora numquara 
reditura tenent. Dum fata sinunt 
vivite laeti ; properat cursu 
vita citato volucrique die 
rota praecipitis vertitur anni ; 
durae peragunt pensa sorores 
nee sua retro fila revolvunt. 
at gens hominum flatur rapidis 
obvia fatis incerta sui ; 
Stygias ultro quaerimus undas. 

cheated hooks or, with firm grip, watches anxiously 
for his prize ; meantime, his line feels the quivering 


^^^ Such are the tasks of those whose is the peaceful 
calm of harmless lives, whose home rejoices in the tiny 
store that is its own ; overweening hopes stalk abroad 
in cities, and trembling fears. One, sleepless, haunts 
the haughty vestibules and unfeeling doors of his 
rich patrons ; another endlessly heaps up abundant 
wealth, gloats over his treasures, and is still jwor 
amid piled-up gold. Yonder dazed wretch, with 
empty wind puffed up, popular applause and the mob 
more shifting than the sea uplift; this, trafficking in 
the mad wrangles of the noisy court, shamelessly lets 
out for hire his passions and his speech. Known to 
but few is untroubled calm, and they, mindful of 
time's swift flight, hold fast the days that never will 
return. While the fates permit, live happily ; life 
speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days 
the wheel of the headlong year is turned. The harsh 
sisters ^ ply their tasks, yet do they not spin backward 
the threads of life. But men are driven, each one un- 
certain of his own, to meet the speeding fates ; we seek 
the Stygian waves of our own accord. With heart too 
^ The Parcae. 

I B 17 

nimium, Alcide, pectore forti 
properas maestos visere manes ; 
certo veniunt temj)ore Parcae. 
nulli iusso cessare licet^ 

nulli scriptum proferre diem ; 190 

recipit po])ulos urna citatos. 
Alium multis gloria terris 
tradat et omnes fama per urbes 
garrula laudet caeloque parem 
tollat et astris ; alius curru 
sublimis eat ; me mea tellus 
lai'e secreto tutoque tegat. 
venit ad pigros cana senectus, 
humiliqiie loco sed certa sedet 
sordida parvae fortuna domus ; 200 

alte virtus animosa cadit. 

Sed maesta venit crine soluto 
Megara parvum comitata gregem, 
tardusque senio graditur Alcidae parens. 


O magne Olympi rector et mundi arbiter, 
iam statue tandem gravibus aerumnis modum 
finemque cladi. nulla lux umquam mihi 
secura fulsit ; nullus e nati datur 
labore fructus ; ^ finis alterius mali 
gradus est futuri. protinus reduci novus 

^ Lto supplies nullus . . . fructus as necessary to the sense. 

brave, Alcides, thou dost liaste to visit the grieving 
ghosts ; at the appointed time the Parcae come. No 
one may linger when they command, no one may 
postpone the allotted day ; the urn receives the 
nations hujried to their doom. 

^^ Let glory laud another to many lands, and let 
babbling fame sing his praise through every city and 
lift him to a level with the stars of heaven; let 
another fare towering in his car; but me let my own 
land, beside my lonely, sheltered hearth, protect. 
Tlie inactive reach hoary age, and in a lowly estate 
but secure stands the mean lot of a humble home ; 
from a lofty height ambitious courage falls. 

2°- But sad Megara comes hither with streaming 
hair, her flock of children round her, and, slow with 
age, the father of Alcides moves. 

[Enle7' from the palace megara tvilh her children, and 
AMPHITRYON. They take their stand at the allar.'\ 


O mighty ruler of Olympus, judge of all the world, 
set now at length a limit to our crushing cares, 
an end to our disasters. No day has ever dawned 
for me untroubled ; no reward from my son's toil is 
ever given ; the end of one ill is but the step to 
one beyond. Straightway on his return a new foe is 


paratur hostis ; antequam laetam domum 
contiiigat, aliud iussus ad helium meat ; 
nee ulla requies tempus aut ullum vacat, 
nisi dum iubetur. sequitur a primo statim 
iiifesta luno ; numquid immunis fuit 
infantis aetas? monstra superavit prius 
quam nosse posset, gemina cristati caput 
angues ferebant ora^ qiios contra obvius 
reptabat infans igneos serpentium 
oculos remisso lumine ac placido intuens ; 
artos serenis vultibus nodos tulit, 
et tumida tenera guttura elidens manu 
prolusit hydrae. Maenali pernix fera, 
multo decorum praeferens auro caput, 
deprensa cursu est; maximus Nemeae timor 
pressus lacertis gemuit Herculeis leo. 
quid stabula memorem dira Bistonii gregis 
suisque regem pabulum armentis datum, 
solitunique densis hispidum Erymanthi iugis 
Arcadia quatere nemora Maenalium suem, 
taurumqiie centum non levem populis metum ? 
inter remotos gentis Hesperiae greges 
pastor triformis litoris Tartesii 
peremptus, acta est praeda ab occasu ultimo ; 
notum Cithaeron pavit Oceano pecus. 
penetrare iussus solis aestivi plagas 
et adusta medius regna quae torret dies 
utrimque montes solvit ac rupto obice 
latam ruenti fecit Oceano viam. 


ready for him ; before he can reach his happy home, 
bidden to another struggle he sets forth ; there is no 
chance to rest, no time left free, save while fresh com- 
mands are being given. From his very birth relentless 
Juno has pursued him ; was even his infancy exempt ? 
He conquered monsters before he could know that 
they were monsters. Serpents twain with crested 
heads advanced their fangs against him ; the infant 
crawletl to meet them, gazing at the snakes' fiery 
eyes with mild and gentle look ; with serene face 
he raised their close-coiled folds and, crushing their 
swollen throats with his baby hands, he practised for 
the hydra. The nimble hind of Maenalus, raising her 
head bounteously adorned with gold, was caught 
by his long pursuit ; ^ the lion, mightiest dread of 
Nemea, crushed by the arms of Hercules roared his 
last. Why should I tell of the horrid stalls of the 
Bistonian herd and the king^ given as food to his 
own cattle .'' of the shaggy boar of Maenalus, whose 
wont it was on the thick-wooded heights of Eryman- 
thus to harry the groves of Arcady ? or of the bull, 
the crushing terror of a hundred towns .'' ^ Among 
his herds in the distant land of Spain the three- 
shaped shepherd * of the Tartesian shore was killed 
and his cattle driven as spoil from the farthest west; 
Cithaeron has fed the herd once to Ocean known. 
When bidden ^ to enter the regions of the summer 
sun, those scorched realms which midday burns, he 
clove the mountains on either hand and, rending the 
barrier, made a wide path^ for Ocean's rushing stream. 

' Hercules chased the hind a year before he caught her. 

- See Index «.r. " Diomedes." 

^ The hundred towns of Crete. * Geryon. 

'•" This was not one of the twelve labours ordered by Eurys- 
theiis. See Index t.v. " Hercules." 

« The Straits of Gibraltar. 


post haec adortus nemoris opulenti domos 
aurifera vigilis spolia serpentis tulit ; 240 

quid ? saeva Lernae monstra, numerosum malum, 
non igne demum vicit et docuit mori, 
solitasque pennis condere obductis diem 
petit ab ipsis nubibus Stymphalidas ? 
non vicit ilium caelibis semper tori 
regina gentis vidua Thermodontiae ; 
nee ad omne clarum facinus audaces manus 
stabuli fugavit turpis Augei labor. 

Quid ista prosunt ? orbe defense caret, 
seixsere terrae pacis auctorem suae 250 

abesse. rursus prosperum ac felix scelus 
virtus vocatur ; sontibus parent boni, 
ius est in armis, opprimit leges timor. 
ante era vidi nostra truculenta manu 
natos paterni cadere regni vindices 
ipsumque, Cadmi nobilis stirpem ultimam, 
occidere, vidi regium capiti decus 
cum capite raptum. quis satis Thebas fleat .'' 
ferax deorum terra, quem dominum tremis ? 
e cuius arvis eque fecundo sinu SGO 

stricto iuventus orta cum ferro stetit 
cuiusque muros natus Amphion love 
struxit canoro saxa modulatu trahens, 
in cuius urbem non semel divum parens 
caelo relicto venit, haec quae caelites 
recepit et quae fecit et (fas sit loqui) 
fortasse faciet, sordido jiremitur iugo. 


Next he essayed the rich grove's dwellings and bore 
off the watchful dragon's golden spoil. ^ Lerna's fell 
monster, pest manifold, did he not quell at last by 
fire and teach to die ? And the Stymphalian birds, 
wont to hide the day with veiling wings, did he not 
bring down from the very clouds ? Thermodon's 
unwed queen ^ of ever virgin couch could not prevail 
against him, nor did his hands, bold to attempt all 
glorious deeds, shirk the foul labour of the Augean 

2" But what avails all this ? He is banished from 
the M'orld which he defended. All the earth has 
felt that the giver of its peace is lost to it. Once 
again prosperous and successful crime goes by the 
name of virtue ; good men obey the bad, might is 
right and fear oppresses law. Before my eyes I saw 
the sons, defenders of their father's ^ kingdom, fall 
dead by the murderer's* hand, and the king himself 
fall, last scion of Cadmus' famous line ; 1 saw the 
royal crown that decked his head torn from him, 
head and all. Who could lament Thebes enough.^ 
O land, fertile in gods, before what lord dost thou 
tremble now } The city from whose fields and fecund 
bosom a band of youth ^ stood forth with swords 
ready drawn, whose walls Jove's son, Amphion, built, 
drawing its stones by his tuneful melodies — to which 
not once alone came the father of the gods, quitting 
the sky — this city, which has welcomed gods and 
has created gods and (may the word be lawful) 
perchance will yet create them, is oppressed by a 

1 The golden apples of the Hesperides. 
- Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. 
' Creon. * Lycus. 

* i.e. they who sprang from Cadmus' sowing of the dragon's 


Cadmea proles atque Ophionium genus, 
quo reccidistis ? tremitis ignavum exulem, 
suis carentem finibus, nostris gravem. 
qui scelera terra quique persequitur mari 
ac saeva iusta sceptra confringit manu 
nunc servit absens fertque quae fieri vetat, 
tenetque Thebas exul Herculeas Lycus ! 
sed non tenebit ; aderit et poenas petet 
subitusque ad astra emerget ; inveniet viam 
aut faciet. adsis sospes et remees precor 
tandemqiie venias victor ad victam doinum ! 


Emerge, coniunx, atque dispulsas manu 
abrumpe tenebras ; nulla si retro via 
iterque clusum est, orbe diducto redi 
et quidquid atra nocte possessum latet 
emitte tecum, dirutis qualis iugis 
praeceps citato flumini quaerens iter 
quondam stetisti, scissa cum vasto impetu 
patuere Tempe — pectore impulsus tuo 
hue mons et illuc cessit et rupto aggere 
nova cucurrit Thessalus torrens via — 
talis, parentes liberos patriam petens, 
erumpe rerum terminos tecum efFerens, 
et quidquid avida tot per annorum gradus 
abscondit aetas redde et oblitos sui 
lucisque j)avi(los ante te populos age. 
indigna te sunt spolia, si tantum refers 


shameful yoke. O seed of Cadmus and Ophion's 
race, to what depths liave you fallen! You tremble 
before a dastard exile, of his own land deprived, to 
ours a burden. But he who avenges crime on land and 
sea, who with righteous hand breaks cruel sceptres, 
now far away endures a master^ and brooks what 
he elsewhere forbids — and Lycus, the exile, rules 
the Thebes of Hercules ! But not for long ; he will 
be present with us and exact punishment, and sud- 
denly to the sight of the stars will he come forth. 
He will find a way — or make one. Oh, be present 
and return in safety, I pray, and come at last vic- 
torious to thy vanquished home ! 

Come forth, my husband, burst through the 
darkness shivered by thy hand ; if there is no 
backward way, and the road is closed, rend earth 
asunder and return ; and whatever lies hid in the 
hold of murky night, let forth with thee. Even as 
once, rending the hills asunder, seeking for the rush- 
ing stream ^a headlong path, thou stoodst, what time 
Tempe, cleft by that mighty shock, opened wide — 
before the thrust of thy breast, this way and that 
the mountain yielded and through the broken mass 
the Thessalian torrent raced in its new bed — even 
so, seeking thy parents, children, fatherland, burst 
through, bearing away with tliee the bounds of 
things ; and all that greedy time through all the 
march of years has hidden away, restore ; and drive 
out before thee the self-for £^ettin^ dea^ peoples that 
fear the light. Unwortliy^of theeTsTfie spoil, if thou 

^ Eurystheiis. 

* The Peueus river, a passage for which Hercules is said to 
have forced between Olvmpus and Ossa. 


quantum imperatum est. magna sed nimium loquor 
ignara nostrae sortis. unde ilium mihi 
quo te tuamque dexteram amplectar diem 
reditusque lentos nee mei memores querar ? 
tibi, o deorum ductor, indomiti ferent 
centena tauri coUa ; tibi, frugum potens, 300 

secreta reddam sacra ; tibi niuta fide 
longas Eleusin tacita iactabit faces, 
turn restitutas fratribus rebor meis 
animas et ipsum regna moderantem sua 
florere patrem. si qua te maior tenet 
clausum potestas, sequimur. aut omnes tuo 
defende reditu sospes aut omnes trahe — 
trahes nee ullus eriget fractos dens. 


O socia nostri sanguinis, casta fide 
servans torum natosque magnanimi Herculis, 310 
meliora mente concipe atque animum excita. 
aderit profecto, qualis ex omni solet 
labore, maior. 


Quod nimis miseri voliint 
hoc facile credunt. 


Immo quod metiiunt nimis 
numquam moveri posse nee lolli putant. 
prona est timoris semper in peius fides. 


bringst back only what was commanded. But I speak 
too tVowardly, all ignorant of the fate in store for us. 
Oh, whence shall come that day for me when I shall 
clasp thee and thy right hand and lament thy long- 
delayed returns that have no thought of me .■* To 
thee, O leader of the gods, a hundred bulls never 
broken to the yoke shall yield their necks ; to thee, 
goddess of fruits/ will I perform thy secret rites ; to 
thee in speechless faith silent Eleusis shall toss long 
trains of torches. Then shall I deem their lives 
restored unto my brothers, my father himself govern- 
ing his own realm and flourishing. But if some greater 
power is holding thee in durance, we follow thee. 
Either defend us all by thy safe return, or drag lis^ 
all with thee — thou wilt drag us down, nor will any 1 
god lift up our broken house. 


O ally of my blood, preserving with chaste faith 
the couch and children of the great-souled Hercules, 
have better thought and rouse thy courage. Surely 
he will come home, as is his wont from every task, 
the greater. 

What the wretched overmuch desire, they easily 


Nay, what they fear overmuch they think can 
never be set aside or done away. Fear's trust 
inclineth ever to the worse. 

• Ceres. 




Demersus ac defossus et toto insuper 
oppressus orbe quam viam ad superos habet ? 


Quam tunc liabebat cum per arentem plagam 
et fluctuantes more turbati maris 320 

adit harenas bisque discedens fretum 
et bis recurrens, cumque deserta rate 
deprensus haesit Syrtium brevibus vadis 
et puppe fixa maria superavit pedes. 


Iniqna raro maximis virtutibus 
fortuna parcit ; nemo se tuto diu 
periculis offerre tam crebris potest, 
quem saepe transit casus, aliquando invenit. 

Sed ecce saevus ac minas vultu gerens 
et qualis animo est talis incessu venit. S30 

aliena dextra sceptra concutiens Lycus. 


Vrbis regens oj)ulenta Thebanae loca 
et omne quidquid uberi cingit solo 
obliqua Phocis, quidquid Ismenos rigat, 
quidquid Cithaeron vertice excelso videt, 
et bina findens Isthmos cxilis freta,^ 
non Vetera patriae iura possideo domus 

^ Lto deletes this line. 



Submerged, deep-buried, crushed beneath all the 
world, what way has he to upper air ? 


The same he had when across tlie parched desert 
and the sands, billowing like the stormy sea, he made 
his way, and across the strait with twice-receding, 
twice-returning waves ; and when, his barque aban- 
doned, he was stranded, a prisoner on Syrtes' shoals, 
and, though his vessel was held fast, he crossed o'er 
seas on foot.^ 


Unrighteous fortur.e seldom spares the highest 
worth ; no one with safety can long front so frequent 
perils. Whom calamity oft passes by she finds at last. 
[Enter lvcus.] 

329 But see, ferocious and with threats upon his 
brow, the same in gait and spirit, Lycus comes, bran- 
dishing another's sceptre in his hand. 


Ruling the rich domains of TTiebes and all that 
sloping Phocis encompasses with its rich soil, what- 
ever Ismenus waters, whatever Cithaeron views from 
his high peak, and slender Isthmus, keepitig asunder 
its twin straits, no ancient rights of an ancestral home 

^ Hercules was once wrecked off the African coast and made 
his way on foot to the shore. 


ignavns heres ; nobiles non sunt mihi 
avi nee altis inclitum titulis genus, 
sed clara virtus, qui genus iactat suum, 340 

aliena laudat. rapta sed trepida nianu 
sceptra obtinentur ; omnis in ferro est sal us ; 
quod civibus tenere te invitis scias 
strictus tuetur ensis. alieno in loco 
haut stabile regnum est ; una sed nostras potest 
fundare vires iuncta regali face 
thalamisque Megara. ducet e genere inclito 
novitas colorem nostra, non equidem reor 
fore ut recuset ac meos spernat toros ; 
quod si impotenti pertinax animo abnuet, 350 

stat tollere omnem penitus Herculeam domum. 
invidia factum ac sermo popularis premet ? 
ars prima regni est posse invidiam pati.^ 
temptemus igitur, fors dedit nobis locum ; 
namque ipsa, tristi vestis obtentu caput 
velata, iuxta praesides astat deos 
laterique adhaeret verus Alcidae sator. 


Quidnam iste, nostri generis exitium ac lues, 
novi parat .'' quid temptat ? 


O clarum trahens 

a stirpe nomen regia, facilis mea 360 

1 So E: ad invidiam A : te invidiam ^: to avoid the hiatus, 
Leo suggests posse rumores pati or plebis invidiam pati. 



do I possess, a slothful heir ; not mine are noble 
ancestors, nor a race illustrious with lofty titles, but 
valour glorious. Who vaunts his race, lauds what 
belongs to others. But usurped sceptres are held in 
anxious hand ; all safety is in arras ; what thou 
knowest thou boldest against the will of citizens, the 
drawn sword must guard. On alien soil kingship 
stands not sure ; but one there is who can set my 
power on firm foundations, if joined to me in royal 
wedlock by torch and couch — Megara. From her 
noble line my newness shall gain richer hue. Nor 
do I think she will refuse and scorn my bed ; but 
if stubbornly and with headstrong will she shall 
decline, it is my resolve to give to utter ruin the 
whole house of Hercules. Shall hatred and the 
common people's talk restrain my hand ^ 'Tis the first 
art of kings, the power to suffer hate. Let us make 
trial, therefore ; chance has given us occasion ; 
for Megara herself, her head close-veiled in mourn- 
ing vestments, stands by the altar of her protecting 
gods, and close by her side keeps the true sire of 


What new thing plans that fellow, that des- 
truction and pestilence of our race .'' What does he 
attempt ? 


O thou whose illustrious name is drawn from 
royal stock, graciously Usten to my words a little 


parumper aure verba patienti excipe. 
si aeterna semper odia mortales gerant 
nee coeptus umqsiam cedat ex animis furor, 
sed arma felix teneat infelix paret^ 
nihil relinquent bella ; turn vastis ager 
squalebit arvis, subdita tectis face 
altus sepultas obruet gentes cinis. 
pacem reduci velle victori expedit, 
victo necesse est — particeps regno veni ; 
socieniur animis, pignus hoc fidei cape — 37 

continge dextram. quid truci vultu siles ? 


Egone ut parentis sanguine aspersam manum 
fratrumque gemina caede contingam ? prius 
extinguet ortus, referet occasus diem, 
pax ante fida nivibus et flammis erit 
et Scylla Siculum iunget Ausonio latus, 
priusque multo vicibus alternis fugax 
Euripus unda stabit Euboica piger. 
patrem abstulisti, regna, germanos, larem 
patrium — quid ultra est ? una res superest niihi 3t 
fratre ac parente carior, regno ac lare — 
odium tui, qucd esse cum populo mihi 
commune doleo. pars quota ex illo mea est? 
dominare tumidus, spiritus altos gere ; 
sequitur superbos ultor a tergo deus. 
Thebana novi regna ; quid matres loquar 
passas et ausas scelera ? quid gemiuum nefas 

while with patient ear. If mortals should cherish 
everlasting hate and if mad rage, once felt, should 
never drop from our hearts, but if the victor should 
keep and the vanquished prepare arms, nothing 
will wars leave us ; then on the wasted farms the 
fields will lie untilled, the torch will be set to homes, 
and deep ashes will overwhelm the buried nations. 
'Tis expedient for the victor to wish for peace 
restored ; for the vanquished 'tis necessity. — Come, 
share my throne ; let us be joined in purpose ; accept 
this pledge of faith — touch hands with me. Why in 
grim-faced silence dost thou stand ? 


I touch a hand stained with my father's blood 
and -with my brothers' double murder ? Sooner 
shall the East extinguish, the West bring back, the 
day ; sooner shall snow and flame be in lasting 
harmony and Scylla join the Sicilian and Ausonian 
shores ; and sooner far shall swift Euripus with 
his alternating tides rest sluggish upon Euboea's 
strand ! My father hast thou taken from me, ray 
kingdom, brothers, my ancestral home — what is 
there else .'' There is one thing left to me, dearer 
than brother and father, kingdom and home — my 
hate of thee, which it is my grief that I must share 
with all the populace. How small a part of it is 
mine ! Rule on, swollen with pride, lift thy spirits 
high ; an avenging god pursues the proud. I know 
the Theban realm ; why mention the crimes wliich 
mothers have endured and dared ? Why speak of the 

I c 33 

mixtumque nomen coniugis nati patris ? 
quid bina fratrutn castra ? quid totidem rogos ? 
riget superba Tan talis luctu parens 
maestusque Phrygio manat in Sipylo lapis, 
quin ipse torvum subrigens crista caput 
lUyrica Cadmus regna permensus fuga 
longas reliquit corporis tracti notas. 
haec te manent exenipla. doniinarc iit libet 
dum solita re^ni fata te nostri vocent. 

Agedum effcratas rabida voces amove 
et disce regum imperia ab Alcide pati. 
ego rapta quamvis sceptra victrici geram 
dextra regamque cuncta sine legum metu 
quas arma vincunt, pauca pro causa loquar 
nostra, cruento cecidit in bello pater? 
cecidere fratres ? arma non servant mudiini; 
nee temperari facile nee reprimi potest 
stricti ensis ira ; bella dclectat cruor. 
sed ille regno pro suo, nos iraproba 
cupidine acti ? qiiaeritur belli exilus, 
non causa, sed nunc pereat omnis memoria; 
cum victor arma posuit, et victum decet 
deponere odia. non ut inflexo genu 
regnantem adores petimus; hoc ipsum placet 
animo ruinas quod capis magno tuas; 
es rege coniunx digna ; sociemus toros. 



double infamy and the confused names of husband, 
son and sire ? ^ Why speak of the brothers' - two- 
fold camps ? the two funeral-pyres ? The daughter 
of Tantalus, presumptuous mother,' stiffens with 
grief and, mournful on Phrygiati Sipylus, drips tears 
— a stone. Nay, Cadmus himself reared a head fierce 
with its crest and, tra\ ei'sing Illyria's realm in flight, 
left the long trail of his dragging body.* Ihee 
do such precedents of doom await. Lord it as thou 
wilt, if only the accustomed dcbtinies of our realm 
summon thee. 

Come, mad woma-i, have done with this wild talk, 
antl learn from Alcides to endure the commands of 
kings. Although I wield a sceptre seized by my 
victorious hand, though I rule all things without fear 
of laws which aims o'ei master, still will I say a few 
words in mine own cause. 'Twas in a cruel war thy 
father fell, sayest thou .'' thy brothers, too .' Arms 
observe no bounds ; nor can the wrath of the sword, 
once drawn, be easily checked or stayed; war de- 
lights in blood. But he fought for his realm, sayest 
thou ; we, impelled by insatiable ambition ? Of war 
men ask the outcome, not the cause. But now let all 
the past be forgotten ; when the victor has laid down 
his arms, it is meet that the vanquished, too, lay 
down his hate. That thou on bended knee shouldst 
pray to me as thy soveie'gn I do not ask ; this of 
itself is pleasing to me, that tliou dost take thy 
overthrow with a high spirit. Worthy art thou to 
be a king's mate ; then let us wed. 

^ The reference is to Oedipus. * flteocles and Polynices. 
• Niobe. * Cadmus wua changed into a serpent. 




Gelidus per artus vadit exangues tremor, 
quod facinus aures pepulit ? haut equidem horrui, 
cum pace rupta bellicus muvos fragor 
circumsonaret, pertuli intrepide omnia ; 
thalamos tremesco ; capta nunc videor milii. 
gravent catenae corpus et longa fame 
mors protrahatur lenta ; non vincet fidem 42 

vis ulla nostram. moriar, Alcide, tua. 


Aniinosne mersus inferis coniunx facit ? 


Inferna tetigit, posset ut supera assequi. 


Telluris ilium pondus immensae premit. 


Nullo premetur onere, qui caelum tulit. 





Cogi qui potest nescit mori. 



Cold horror creeps through my bloodless limbs. 
What outrage has struck my ears ? No terror felt I 
when peace was broken and war's loud crash rang 
around our walls ; dauntlessly I bore it all ; but 
marriage — I shudder at it ; now do I indeed seem 
captive. Let chains load down my body, and let me 
die a lingering death by slow starvation ; still shall 
no power o'ercome my loyalty. Alcides, I shall die 
thine own. 


Does a husband buried in the depths produce 
such spirit } 


He reached the de2)ths that he might gain the 


The weight of the boundless earth crushes him. 


By no weight wall he be crushed who upbore the 


Thou shalt be forced. 


Who can be forced has not learned how to die. 



EflTare potius, quod novis thalamis parem 
Regale munus. 


Aut tuam mortem aut meam. 


Moriere demens. 


Coniugi occurram meo. 


Sceptrone nostro famulus est potior tibi ? iiSO 


Quot iste famulus tradidit reges ncci. 


Cur ergo regi servit et patitur iugum? 


Imperia dura tolle — quid virtus erit? 


Obici feris monstrisque virtutem putas ? 


Say rather, what royal gift I shall prepare for 
my new bride. 


Thy death or mine. 


Foolj thou shalt die. 


So shall I meet my husband. 


Is a slave more to thee than I, a kinpr ? 


How many kings has that slave given to death ! 


Why, then, does he serve a king and endure the 
yoke ? 


Do away with harsh commands — what then will 
valour be ? 


To oppose oneself to beasts and monsters think'st 
thou valour } 




Virtutis est domare quae cuncti pavent. 


Tenebrae loquentem magna Tavtaveae premunt. 


Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. 


Quo patie genitus caelitum sperat domos ? 


Miseranda coniunx Herculis magni, sile ; 
partes meae sunt reddere Alcidae patrem 440 

genusque verum. post tot ingentis viri 
memoranda facta postque pacatum manu 
quodcumque Titan ortus et labens videt, 
post monstra tot perdomite, post Phlegram irnpio 
sparsam cruore postque defensos deos 
nondum liquet de patre ? mentimur lovem ? 
lunonis odio crede. 


Quid violas lovem ? 
mortale caelo non potest iungi genus. 



'Tis valour's part to subdue what all men fear. 


The shades of Tartarus bury the braggart deep. 


There is no easy way to the stars from earth. 

Who is his father that he hopes for a home in 
heaven ? 


Unhappy wife of great Hercules, be still ; 'tis 
my place to restore to Alcides his father and true 
lineage. [To lycus.] After all the great hero's 
memorable deeds, after peace has been gained by 
his hand for all that the sun, rising and setting, 
sees, after so many monsters tamed, after Phlegra ^ 
stained with impious blood, after his protection of 
the gods, is not his fathering yet clear? Claim we 
Jove falsely? Then believe Juno's hate. 


Why blaspheme Jove? The race of mortals 
cannot mate with heaven. 

^ The scene of the battle between the giant3 and the gods. 
Hercules fought on the side of the gods. 




Communis ista pluribus causa est dels. 


Famuline fiierant ante quam fierent tlei ? 450 


Pastor Pheraeos Delius pavit greges — 


Sed non per omnes exul erravit plagas. 


Quern profuga terra mater errante edidit? 


Nam monstra saeva Phoebus aut timuit feras ? 


Primus sagittas imbuit Phoebi draco. 

Quam gravia parvus tulerit ignoras mala ? 


E matris utero fulmine eiectus puer 
mox fulminanti proximus patri stetit. 



That is the common origin of many gods. 


But were they slaves ^ ere they became divine? 


The Delian as a shepherd tended flocks at 
Pherae — ^ 


But he did not in exile roam o'er all the world. 


What } He whom an exiled mother brought 
forth on a roaming isle .'' 


Did Phoebus encounter savage monsters or wild 
beasts ? 


A dragon was the first to stain Phoebus' shafts, 


Kiiowest thou not what heavy ills he bore in 
infancy ? 


Ripped by a thunderbolt from his mother's 
womb, a boy ^ in after-time stood next his sire, the 

' As was Hercules to Eurystheus. 

^ The reference is to Apollo's year of servitnde to Admetns. 

• Bacchus. 


quid ? qui gubernat astra, qui nubes quatit, 
non latuit infans rupis Idaeae specu ? 46O 

sollicita tanti pretia natales habent 
semperque magno constitit nasci deum. 


Quemcumque miserum videris, hominem scias. 


Quemcumque fortem viderisj miserum neges. 


Fortem vocemus cuius ex umeris leo, 
donum puellae factus, et clava excidit 
fulsitque pictum veste Sidonia latus ? 
fortem vocemus cuius horrentes comae 
maduere nardo, laude qui notas manus 
ad non virilem tympani movit sonum^ 470 

mitra ferocem barbara frontem premens ? 


Non erubescit Bacchus effusos tener 
sparsisse crines nee manu molli levem 
vibrare thyrsum, cum parum forti gradu 
auro decorum syrma barbarico trail it. 
post multa virtus opera laxari solet. 


Hoc Euryti fatetur eversi domus 
pecorumque ritu virginum oppressi greges ; 

Thunderer. What ? he who rules the stars, who 
sliakes the clouds, did he not lie hid in infancy in a 
cave of rocky Ida ? Such lofty birth must pay its price 
of care, and ever has it cost dear to be born a god. 


Whome'er thou shalt see wretched, know him man. 


Whome'er thou shalt see brave, call him not 


Are we to call him brave from whose shoulders 
fell the lion's skin and club, made present for a girl,* 
and whose side shone resplendent, decked out in 
Tyrian robes .'' Call him brave, whose bristling locks 
dripped with nard, who busied those famous hands 
with unmanly strummings on the tambourine, whose 
warlike brow a barbaric turban crowned ^ 


But dainty Bacchus does not blush to sprinkle 
with perfume his flowing locks, nor in his soft hand 
to brandish the slender thyrsus, when with mincing 
gait he trails his robe gay with barbaric gold. After 
much toil, valour still seeks relief. 


TTiat fact the ruined house of Eury tus confesses,and 

the flocks of maidens harried like so many sheep ; no 

* Ompbale. 


hoc nulla luno, nullus Eurystheus iubet ; 
ipsius haec sunt opera. 


Non nosti omnia ; 
ipsius opus est caestibus fractus suis 
Eryx et Eryci iunctus Antaeus Libys, 
et qui hospitali caede manantes foci 
bibere iustum sanguinem Busiridis ; 
ipsius opus est vulneri et ferro invius 
mortem coactus integer Cycnus pati, 
nee unus una Geryon victus manu. 
eris inter istos — qui tamen nuUo stupro 
laesere thalamos. 


Quod lovi hoc regi licet, 
lovi dedisti coniugem, regi dabit ; 
et te magistro non novum hoc discet nurus, 
etiam viro probante, meliorem sequi. 
sin copulari pertinfix taedis negat, 
vel ex coacta nobilera partum feram. 

Vmbrae Creontis et jienates Labdaci 
et nuptiales impii Oedipodae faces, 
nunc solita nostro fata coniugio date, 
nunc, nunc, cruentae regis Aegypti nurus, 
adeste multo sanguine infectae manus. 
dest una numero Danais — explebo nefas. 


Juno, no Eurystheus ordered this; these works are 
his very own. 


Thou knowest not all ; his own work it is that 
Ervx was crushed by his own gauntlets and that 
Libyan Antaeus shared Eryx' fate ; that the altars 
which dripped with the blood of strangers drank, 
and justly, too, Busiris' blood; his own work is 
Cvcnus, though proof against wound and sword, 
forced to suffer death untouched by wounds ; and 
threefold Geryon by one hand overcome. I'hou 
shalt share the tate of these — and yet they never 
defiled with lust the marriage-bed. 

What is Jove's right is a king's right, too. Thou 
gavt st thv wife ^ to Jove, to a king shall he give 
his 2 ; and taught by thy example thy daughter shall 
learn this old-time lesson — when the husband also 
gives consent, to take the better man. But should 
she stubbornly refuse to wed me by the torches' rite, 
even by force will I get me a noble stock from her. 

Ye shades of Cieon, ye household gods of 
Labdacus, ye nuptial torches of incestuous Oedipus, 
now to our union grant its accustomed doom. Now, 
now, ye bloody daughters of King Aegyptus, be 
present here, your hands deep-stained in blood. 
One Danaid is lacking from the tale — I will complete 
tlie crime. 

* Alcmena. * Megara. 



Coniugia quoniam pervicax nostra abnuis 
regemque terres, sceptia quid possint scies. 
complectere aras — null us eripiet deus 
te mihi, nee orbe si remolito queat 
ad supera victor numina Aleides vehi. 
congerite silvas ; templa supplicibus suis 
iniecta flagrent, coniugem et totum gregem 
consumat unus igne subiecto rogus. 


Hoe munus a te genitor Alcidae peto, 
rog.ire quod me deceat, ut prnnus cadam. 


Qui morte eunctos lucre suppliciuni iubet 
nescit tyranims esse, diversa inroga : 
miserum veta perire, felicem iube. 
ego, dum cremandis trabibus accrescit rogus, 
•sacro regentem maria votivo colam. 


Pro numinum vis summa, pro caelestium 
rector parensque, cuius excussis tremunt 
humana telis, impiam regis feri 
compesce dextram — quid deos fVustra precor ? 
ubicumque es, audi, nate. cur subito labant 
agitata motu temjila ? cur mugit solum ? 
infernus imo sonuit e fundo fran'or.^ 
audimur, est est sonitus Herculei gradus. 

^ Leo deletes this line. 


Since my suit thou dost stubbornly refuse and 
threatenest thy king, now shalt thou know what 
royal j)ower can do. Embrace the altar — no god 
shall snatch thee from me, not though earth's mass 
could be pushed aside and Alcides brought back in 
triumpli to the upper world. [To ai/e?idnnls.] Heap 
higl) tlie logs ; let the temple fall blazing on its sup- 
pliants; apply the torch and let one pyre consume 
the wife and all her brood. 


This boon as father of Alcides I ask of thee, 
which becomes me well to ask, that I be first to fall. 

He who inflicts on all the penalty of death 
knows not how to be a king. Impose contrasting 
penalties : forbid the wretched, commanol the happy 
man to die. Now while the pyre feeds on the burning 
beams, with promised gifts will I worship him who 
rules the sea. [Exit. 


mightiest of gods, O ruler and sire of the 
immortals, at whose hurtling bolts mortals tremble, 
check thou the impious hand of this mad king — why 
make vain prayers unto the gods .'' Where'er thou 
art, hear thou, m\' son. But why with sudden 
motion does the rocking temple totter ? Why does 
earth rumble ? Infernal crashing has sounded from 
the lowest pit. Our prayer is heard; it is, it is the 
reso-inding tread of Heicules ' 

1 D 49 



O Fortmia viris invida fortibus, 
quam noii aequa bonis praeinia dividis. 
" Eurystheus facili regiiet in olio ; 
Alcmena genitus bella per omnia 
monstris exagitet caeliferam manum : 
serpentis resecet colla feracia, 
deceptis referat mala sororibus, 
cum somno dederit pex'vigiles geiias 
pomis divitibus praepositiis draco." 

Intravit Scythiae multivagas donios 
et gentes patriis sedibus hospitas, 
calcavitque freti terga rigentia 
et mutis taciturn litoribus mare, 
illic dura carent aequora fluctibus, 
et qua plena rates carbasa tenderaiit, 
intonsis teritur semita Sarmatis. 
stat pontus, vicibus mobilis annuis, 
navem nunc facilis nunc equitem pati. 
illic quae viduis gentibus imperat, 
aurato religans ilia balteo, 
detraxit spolium nobile corpori 
et peltam et nivei vincula pectoris, 
victorem posito suspiciens geiui. 

Qua spe praecipites actus ad inferos, 
audax ire vias inremeabiles, 
vidisti Siculae regna Proserpinae ? 
illic nulla noto nulla favonio 



O Fortune, jealous of the brave, in allotting thy 
favours how unjust art thou unto the good I " Let 
Eurystheus lord it in untroubled ease ; let Alcmena's 
son in endless wars employ on monsters the hand that 
bore the heavens ; let him cut off the hydra's teem- 
ing necks ; let him bring back the apples from the 
cheated sisters when the dragon, set to watch over 
the precious fruit, has given his ever-waking eyes to 
sleep." ^ 

°^^ He invaded the Avandering homes of Scythia 
and nations strangers to their ancestral haunts ; ^ he 
trod the sea's frozen ridge, a still ocean with silent 
shores. There the frozen waters are without waves, 
and where but now ships had spread full sail, a path 
is worn by the long-haired Sarmatae. There lies 
the sea, changing as seasons change, ready to bear 
now ship, now horseman. There she ^ who rules o'er 
tribes unwed, with a golden girdle about her loins, 
stripped the glorious spoil from her body, her shield 
and the bands of her snow-white breast, on bended 
knee looking up to her victor. 

^' With what hope, driven headlong to the 
dejiths, bold to tread ways irretraceable, didst thou 
see Sicilian Proserpina's realms ? There beneath 
no southern, no western wind do the seas rise 

^ A supposed quotation from Fortune's decree. 

- These were nomadic tribes. 

' Hippolyte, queen of the Amazona. 


consurgunt tumidis fluctibus aequora ; 
non illic geminum Tyndaridae genus 
succurrunt timidis sidei'a navibus : 
stat nigro pelagus gurgite languidiim, 
et cum Mors avidis pallida dentibus 
gentes innumeras manibus intulit, 
uiio tot populi reniige transeunt. 

Evincas utinam iura ferae Stygis 
Parcarumque colos non revocabiles. 
hie qui rex populis pluribus imperat, 5(. 

bello cum petei'es Nestoream Pylon, 
tecum conseruit pestiferas manus 
telum tergemina cuspide praeferens : 
effugit tenui vulnere saucius 
et mortis dominus pertimuit mori. 
fatum rumpe manu, tristibus inferis 
prospectus pateat lucis et invius 
limes det faciles ad superos vias ! 

Immites potuit flectere cantibus 
umbrarum dominos et prece supplici 51 

Orpheus, Eurydicen dum i*epetit suam. 
quae silvas et aves saxaque traxerat 
ars, quae praebuerat fluminibus moras, 
ad cuius sonitum constiterant ferae, 
mulcet non solitis vocibus inferos 
et surdis resonat clarius in locis. 
deflent Eurydicen Threiciae nurus,^ 

^ Placed after oSO in A : Tartareae nurus Withof: Elysiae 


with swollen waves; there the stars of the twin 
Tyndaridae come not to the aid of timorous ships ; 
sluggish stands the mere ^ with black abyss, and, 
when Death, pale-visaged with greedy teeth, has 
brought countless tribes to the world of shades, 
one ferryman transports those many peoples. 

5^^ Oh, that thou mayest o'ercome the laws 
of cruel Styx, and the relentless distaffs of the 
Fates. He ^ who as king lords it o'er countless 
peoples, what time thou wast making war on Pylos, 
Nestor's land, brought to combat with thee his 
plague-dealing hands, brandishing his three-forked 
spear, yet fled away, with but a slight wound 
smitten, and, though lord of death, feared he would 
die. Fate's bars burst thou with thy hands ; to the 
sad nether regions open a view of light, and let the 
trackless path ^ now give easy passage to the upper 
world ! 

569 Orpheus had power to bend the ruthless lords 

of the shades by song and suppliant prayer, when he 

sought back his Eurydice. The art which had drawn 

the trees and birds and rocks, which had stayed the 

course of rivers, at whose sound the beasts had stopped 

to listen, soothes the underworld with unaccustomed 

strains,and rings out clearer in those unhearing realms. 

Eurydice the Thracian brides bewail ; even the gods, 

> The Styx. 

* Pluto. The reference is to the combat of Hercules against 
Pluto in defence of the Pylians. 
' i.e. between life and death. 


deflent et lacrimis difficiles dei, 
et qui fronte nimis crimina tetrica 
quaerunt ac veteres excutiunt reos 580 

flentes Eurydicen iuridici sedent. 
tandem mortis ait " vincimur " arbiter, 
" evade ad superos, lege tamen data^ 
tu post terga tiii perge viri comes, 
tu non ante tuam respice coniugem, 
quam cum clara deos obtulerit dies 
Spartanique aderit iauua Taenari." 
edit verus amor nee patitur moras ; 
munus dum pro[)eiat cernere, perdidit. 

Quae vinci potuit regia carmine, 590 

haec vinci poterit regia viribus. 


O lucis almae rector et caeli decus, 
qui alterna curru spatia flammifero arnbiens 
inlustre latis exeris terris caput, 
da, Phoebe, veniam, si quid inlicitum tui 
videre vultus; iussus in lucem extuli 
arcana mundi. tuque, caelestum arbiter 
parensque, visus fulmine opposito tege ; 
et tu, secundo maria qui sceptro regis, 
imas pete undas. quisquis ex alto aspicit 6OO 

terrena, facie pollui metuens nova, 
aciem reflectat oraque in caelum erigat 
portenta fugiens. hoc nefas cernant duo, 
qui advexit et quae iussit. in poenas meas 


whom no tears can move, bewail her; and they who 
with awful brows investigate men's cr'mes and sift 
out ancient wrongs, as they sit in judgment^ bewail 
Eurydice. At length death's lord exclaims : " We 
own defeat ; go forth to the upper world, yet by this 
appointed doom — fare thou as comrade behind thy 
husband, and thou, look not back upon thy wife until 
bright day shall have revealed the gods of heaven, 
and the opening of Spartan Taenarus shall be at 
hand." True love hates delay and brooks it not ; 
while he hastes to look upon his prize, 'tis lost. 

^^'^ The realm which could be overcome by song, 

that realm shall strength have power to overcome. 

^Enler hercules, Just returned from the lower world, 

accompanied by theseus ; apparently, also, he is 

leading the dog, cerberus, though this point seems 

less clear as the play develops.^ 


lord of kindly light, glory of heaven, who in thy 
flame-bearing car dost circle both spaces - of the sky, 
and dost show thy shining face to the broad lands, par- 
don, O Phoebus, if any unlawful sight thine eyes have 
seen ; at another's bidding have I brought to light the 
hidden things of earth. And thou, O judge and sire of 
heavenly beings, hide thy face behind thy thunder- 
bolt ; and thou who, next in power, dost control the 
seas, flee to thy lowest waters. \\'hoever from on high 
looks down on things of earth, and would not be defiled 
by a strange, new sight, let him turn away his gaze, lift 
his eyes to heaven, and shun the portent. Let only 
two look on this monster — him who brought and her 

1 It is impossible to reproduce in translation the obvious 
pnn in Eurydicen iurtdici. 

* i.e. the upper and lower hemispheres. 


atque in labores non satis terrae patent 
lunonis odio. vidi inaccessa omnibus, 
ignota Phoebo quaeque deterior polus 
obscura diro spatia concessit lovi ; 
et, si placerent tertiae sortis loca, 
regnare potui. noctis aeternae chaos 
et nocte quiddam gravius et tristes deos 
et fata vidi, morte contempta redi. 
quid restat aliud ? vidi et ostendi inferos, 
da si quid ultra est, iam diu pateris manus 
cessare nostras, luno ; quae vinci iubes ? 
Sed templa quare miles infestus tenet 
limenque sacrum terror armonim obsidet? 


Vtrumne visus vota decipiunt meos, 
an ille domitor orbis et Graium decus 
tristi silentem nubilo liquit domum ? 
estne ille natus ? membra laetitia stupent. 
o nate, certa at sera Thebarum salus, 
teneone in auras editum an vana fruor 
deceptus umbra ? tune es ? agnosco toros 
umerosque et alto nobilem trunco manum. 


Vnde iste, genitor, squalor et lugubribus 
amicta coniunx ? unde tarn foedo obsiti 
paedore nati ? quae domum clades gravat? 


who ordered it. To appoint me penalties and tasks 
earth is not broad enough for Juno's hate. I have 
seen places unapproached by any, unknown to 
Phoebus, those gloomy spaces which the baser pole 
hath yielded to infernal Jove ; and if the regions of 
the third estate pleased me, I might have reigned. 
The chaos of everlasting night, and something worse 
than night, and the grim gods and the fates — all 
these I saw and, having flouted death, I have come 
back. What else remains .'' I have seen and re- 
vealed the lower world. If aught is left to do, 
give it to me, O Juno ; too long already dost 
thou let my hands lie idle. What dost thou bid 
me conquer .'' 

*^* But why do hostile soldiers guard the shrine 
and dreadful arms beset the sacred portal ? 


Can it be that my hopes deceive my sight, or 
has that world-subduer, the pride of Greece, come 
back from the silent halls of mournful gloom .'' Is that 
my son r My limbs are numb with joy. O son, sure, 
though late, deliverance of Thebes, do I really clasp 
thee risen to upper air, or am I mocked, enjoying 
but an empty shade ? is it thou indeed ? Aye, now 
I recognize the bulging thews, the shoulders, the 
hand famed for its huge club. 


Whence this squalid garb, father? Why is my 
wife clad in mourning weeds? Why are my sons 
lovered with loathsome rags ? What disaster over- 
whelms my house ? 




Socer est peremptus, regna possedit Lycus, 
natos parentem coniugem leto petit. 630 


Ingrata tellus, nemo ad Herculeae domus 
auxilia venit? vidit hoc tantum nefas 
defensus orbis ? — cur diem questu tero ? 
mactetur hostia, banc ferat virtus notam 
fiatque summits hostis Alcidae Lycus. 
ad hauriendum sanguinem inimicum feror, 
Theseu ; resiste, ne qua vis subita ingruat. 
me bella poscunt. differ amplexus, parens, 
coniunxque differ, nuntiet Diti Lj'cus 
me iam redisse. 


Flebilem ex oculis fuga, 640 

regina, vultum, tuque nato sospite 
lacrimas cadentes reprime. si novi Herculem, 
Lycus Creonti dehitas poenas dabit, 
lentum est dabit — dat ; hoc quoque est lentum— 


Votum secundet qui potest nostrum deus 
rebusque lapsis adsit. O magni comes 
magnanime nati, pande virtutum ordinem, 
quam longa maestos ducat ad manes via, 
ut vincla tulerit dura Tartareus canis. 



The father of thy wife is slain ; Lycus has seized 
the tlirone ; thy sonSj thy father, thy wife he claims 
for death. 


O ungrateful land, was there none to aid the 
house of Hercules ? Did it see this monstrous wrong, 
the world I succoured ? — but why waste the day in 
idle plaints ? Let the victim ^ be offered up, let my 
manhood bear this brand of shame, and let the final 
foe of Hercules be — Lycus. I haste me, Theseus, to 
drain his detested blood ; remain thou here, lest some 
unexpected force assail. War summons me ; delay 
thy embraces, father ; wife, delay them. Let Lycus 
take the news to Dis that now I have returned. 


Banish that tearful look from thine eyes, O queen, 
and do thou,- since thy son is safe, check thy falling 
tears. If I know Hercules, Lycus shall pay the 
penalty he owes to Creon. " Shall pay " is slow — he 
pays ; that, too, is slow — he has paid. 


May the god who can, fulfil our desire and favour 
our fallen estate. And do thou, great-hearted com- 
panion of our great son, unfold his heroic deeds 
in order ; tell how long a way leads to the gloomy 
shades, and how the Tartarean dog bore his galling 

* i.e. Lycus. * To Amphitryon. 




Memorare cogis acta securae quoque 
horrenda raenti. vix adhuc certa est fides 
vitalis aurae, torpet acies luminum 
hebetesque visus vix diem insuetum ferunt. 


Pervince, Theseu, quidquid alto in pectore 
remanet pavoris neve te fructu optimo 
frauda laborum ; quae fiiit durum pati, 
meminisse dulce est. fare casus horridos. 


Fas omne mundi teque dominantem precor 
regno capaci teque quam amotam inrita 
quaesivit Enna mater, ut iura abdita 
et operta terris liceat impune eloqui. 

Spartana tellus nobile attollit iugum, 
densis ubi aequor Taenarus silvis preniit ; 
hie ora solvit Ditis invisi domus 
hiatque rupes alta et immenso specu 
ingens vorago faucibus vastis patet 
latumque pandit omnibus populis iter, 
non caeca tenebris incipit primo via ; 
tenuis relictae lucis a tergo nitor 
fulgorque dubius solis adflicti cadit 
et ludit aciem. nocte sic mixta solet 
praebeve lumen primus aut serus dies. 



Thou dost force me to recall deeds which strike 
terror to my soul even in security. Scarcely yet 
do I trust assuredly to breathe the vital air ; the 
sight of my eyes is dimmed, and my dull vision can 
scarce bear the unaccustomed light. 


Butj Theseus, master whate'er of dread yet dwells 
deep in thy heart and rob not thyself of toils' 
best fruit ; things 'twas hard to bear 'tis pleasant to 
recall. Tell thou the awful tale. 

All the world's holy powers, and thou ^ who rulest 
the all-holding realm, and thou ^ whom, stolen 
from Enna, thy mother sought in vain, may it be 
right, I pray, boldly to speak of powers hidden away 
and buried beneath the earth. 

*^2 The Spartan land a famous ridge uplifts where 
Taenarus with its dense forests invades the sea. Here 
the home of hateful Pluto unbars its mouth ; a high 
cliff cracks asunder, and a huge chasm, a bottomless 
abyss, spreads its vast jaws wide and opens for all 
peoples a broad path. Not in utter darkness does the 
way first begin ; a slender gleam of the light left 
behind and a doubtful glow as of the sun in eclipse 
falls there and cheats the vision. Such light the day 
mingled with night is wont to give, at early dawn or 
at late twilight. From here ample spaces spread out, 

' Pluto. * Proserpina. 


hinc ampla vacuis spatia laxantur locis, 
in quae omne versum properat humanum genus, 
nee ire labor est ; ipsa deducit via. 
ut saepe puppes aestus invitas rapit, 
sic j)ronus aer iirguet atque avidum cliaos, 
gradumque retro flectere haut umquam sinunt 
umbrae tenaces. intiis immensi sinus 
plr.cido quieta labitur Lethe vado 680 

demitque curas, neve remeandi amplius 
pateat facultas, flexibus multis gravem 
involvit amnem, qualis incertis vagus 
Maeander undis ludit et cedit sibi 
instatque dubius litus an fontem petal, 
palus inertis foeda Coc}ti iacet; 
hie vultur, illic luctifer bubo gemit 
omenque triste resonat infaustae strigis. 
horrent opaca fronde nigrantes comae, 
taxum imminentem qua tenet segnis Sopor 690 

Famesque maesta tabido rictu iacet 
Pudorque serus conscios vultus tegit. 
Metus Pavorque furvus et frendens Dolor 
aterque Luctus sequitur et Morbus tremens 
et cincta ferro Bella ; in extreme abdita 
iners Senectus adiuvat baculo gradum. 


Estne aliqua tellus Cereris aut Bacchi ferax .'' 


void regions, whereto the entire human race turns 
and hastens. It is no toil to go ; the road itself draws 
them down. As oft-times the waves sweep on unwill- 
ing ships, so does the downward breeze drive, and 
the greedy void, and never do the clutching shades 
permit a backward step. Within the abyss, Lethe, 
measureless in sweep, glides smoothly on with placid 
stream, and takes away our cares ; and, that there 
may be no power to retrace the patli, with windings 
manifold it takes its sluggish way, even as the 
vagrant Maeander with its inconstant waters plays 
along, now retreats upon itself, now presses on, in 
doubt whether to seek the seashore or its source. 
The foul pool of Cocytus' sluggish stream lies here ; 
here the vulture, there the dole-bringing owl utters 
its cry, and the sad omen of the gruesome screech- 
owl sounds. The leaves shudder, black with gloomy 
foliage where sluggish Sleep clings to the overhang- 
ing yew, where sad Hunger lies with wasted jaws, and 
Shame, too late, hides her guilt-burdened face. Dread 
stalks there, gloomy Fear and gnashing Pain, sable 
Grief, tottering Disease and iron-girt War ; and last 
of all slow Age supports his steps upon a staff. 


Is any land there fruitful of corn or wine ? 




Non prata viridi lieta facie germinant 
nee adulta leni fluctuat Zephyro seges; 
non ulla ramos silva pomiferos habet : 700 

sterilis profundi vastitas squalet soli 
et foeda tellus torpet aeterno situ, 
rerumque maestus finis et mundi ultima. ^ 
iramotus aer haeret et pigro sedet 
nox atra niundo. cuncta maerore honida 
ipsaque morte peior est mortis locus. 


Quid ille opaca qui regit sceptro loca, 
qua sede positus temperat populos leves ? 


Est in recessu Tartari obscuro locus, 
quern gi-avibus umbris spissa caligo alligat. 710 

a fonte discors manat hinc uno latex, 
alter quieto similis (hunc iurant dei) 
tacente sacram devehens fluvio Styga ; 
at hie tumultu rapitur ingenti ferox 
et saxa fluctu volvit Acheron invius 
renavigari. cingitur duplici vado 
adversa Ditis regia, atque ingens domus 
umbrante luco tegitur. hie vasto specu 
pendent tyranni limina^ hoc umbris iter, 
haec porta regni. campus hanc circa iacet, 720 

^ Leo deletes this line. 


No meadows bud, joyous with verdant view, no 
ripened corn waves in the gentle breeze ; not any 
grove has fruit-producing boughs ; the barren desert 
of the abysmal fields lies all untilled, and the foul 
land lies torpid in endless sloth — sad end of things, 
the world's last estate. The air hangs motionless and 
black night broods over a sluggish world. All things 
are with grief dishevelled, and worse than death 
itself is the abode of death. 


What of him who holds sway over the dark realm ? 
Where sits he, governing his flitting tribes ? 


There is a place in a dark recess of Tartarus, which 
with a heavy pall dense mists enshroud. Hence flow 
from a single source two streams, unlike : one, a placid 
river (by this do the gods swear), with silent current 
bears on the sacred Styx ; the other with mighty 
roar rushes fiercely on, rolling down rocks in its 
flood, Acheron, that cannot be recrossed. The royal 
hall of Dis stands opposite, girt by a double moat, 
and the huge house is hid by an o'ershadowing grove. 
Here in a spacious cavern the tyrant's doors over- 
hang ; this is the road for spirits, this is the kingdom's 
gate. A plain lies round about this where sits the 

I B 65 

in quo superbo tligerit vultu seclcns 
aiiimas recentes dira maiestas dei. 
frons torva, fratrum quae tamen speciem gerat 
gentisque tantae^ vultus est illi lovis, 
seil fulminantis ; magna pars regni trucis 
est ipse dominus, cuius aspectiis timet 
quidquid timetur. 


Verane est fama inferis 
tam sera reddi lura et oblitos sui 
sceleris nocentes debitas poenas dare ? 
quis iste veri rector atque aequi arbiter ? 730 


Non unus alta sede quaesitor sedens 
iudicia trepidis sera sortitur reis. 
aditur illo Cnosius Minos foro, 
Rhadamanthus illo, Thetidis hoc audit socer, 
quod quisque fecit, patitur ; auctorem scelus 
repetit suoque premitur exemplo nocens. 
vidi cruentos carcere incliidi duces 
et impotentis terga plebeia manu 
scindi tyranni. quisquis est placide potens 
dominusque vitae servat innocuas man us 740 

et incruentum mitis imperium regit 
animoque parcit, longa permensus diu 
felicis aevi spatia vel caelum petit 
vel laeta felix nemoris Elysii loca, 
index futurus. sanguine humano abstine 
quicumque regnas ; scelera taxantur mode 
maiore vestra. 


god, where with haughty mien his awful majestj 
assorts the new-arriving souls. Lowering is his broW; 
yet such as wears the aspect of his brothers and his 
high race ; his countenance is that of Jove, but Jove 
the thunderer ; chief part of that realm's grimness 
is its own lord, whose aspect whate'er is dreaded 


Is the report true that in the underworld justice; 
though tardy, is meted out, and that guilty souls 
who have forgot their crimes suffer due puoish- 
ment ? Who is that lord of truth, that arbiter of 
justice ? 


Not one inquisitor alone sits on the high judg- 
ment-seat and allots his tai'dy sentences to trembling 
culprits. In yonder court they pass to Cretan Minos' 
presence, in that to Rhadamanthus', here the father* 
of Thetis' spouse gives audience. What each has 
done, he suffers ; upon its author the crime comes 
back, and the guilty soul is crushed by its own form of 
guilt. I have seen bloody chiefs immured in prison ; 
the insolent tyrant's back torn by plebeian hands. He 
who reigns mildly and, though lord of life, keeps 
guiltless hands, who mercifully and without blood- 
shed rules his realm, checking his own spirit, he shall 
traverse long stretches of happy life and at last gain 
the skies, or else in bliss reach Elysium's joyful 
land and sit in judgment there. Abstain from human 
blood, all ye who rule : with heavier punishment your 
sins are judged. 

* Aeacus, father of Peleus. 




Certus incliisos tenet 
locus nocentes ? utque fert fama, im))ios 
supplicia vinclis saeva perpotuis domant? 


Rapitur volucri tortus Ixion rota; 7 

cervice saxum grande Sis\ phia sedet; 
in amne medio faucibus siccis senex 
sectatur undas, alluit mentum latex, 
fidemque cum iam saepe decepto dedit, 
perit unda in ore ; poma destituunt fauieni. 
praebet volucri Tityos aeternas dapcs 
urnasque frustra Danaides plenas gerunt ; 
errant furentes impiae Cadmeides 
terretque mensas avida Phineas avis. 


Nunc ede nati nobilem pugnam mei. 7 

patrui volentis munus an spolium refert? 


Ferale tardis imminet saxum vadis, 
stupent ubi undae^ segne torpescit fretum. 
hunc servat amnem cultu et aspectu horridus 
pavidosque manes squalidus vectat senex. 
inpexa pendet barba, deformem slnum 
nodus coercet, concavae squalent ^ genae ; 

^ So E : Jiichter, with A, !uc(;ut: Leo conjectura fulgent. 



Does any certain place enclose the guilty ? and, 
as rumour has it, do sinners suffer cruel punishments 
in bonds unending? 

Ixlon whirls, racked on a flying wheel ; a huge 
stone rests on the neck of Sisyphus ; in mid-stream 
an old man ^ with parched lips catches at the waves ; 
the water bathes his chin and, when at last it has 
given him, though oft deceived, a pledi^e of faith, the 
wave perishes at his lips ; fruits mock his hunger. 
To the vulture Tityos gives never-ending feasts ; the 
Danaides bear their brimming urns in vain ; the 
impious Cadmeids roam in their madness, and the 
ravenous bird ^ tomnents Phineus at his board. 


Now tell my son's famous struggle. Is it his 
willing uncle's gift, or his spoil, he brings ? 


A rock funereal o'erhangs the slothful shoals, 
where the waves are sluggish and the dull mere is 
numbed. This stream an old man tends, clad in foul 
garb and to the sight abhorrent, and ferries over the 
quaking shades. His beard hangs down unkempt;- 
a knot ties his robe's misshapen folds ; haggard his 
sunken cheeks ; himself his own boatman, with a long 

» Tantalus. 
• The harpy. 


regit ipse longo poi-titor conto ratem. 
hie onere vacuam litori puppem applicaiis 
repetebat umbras ; poscit Alcides viam 770 

cedente turba ; dirus exclamat Charon : 
" quo pergiSj audax ? siste properantem gradum." 
non passus ullas natus Alcmena moras 
ipso coactum navitam conto domat 
scanditque puppem. cumba populorum capax 
succubuit uni ; sidit et gi'avior ratis 
utrimque Lethen latere titubanti bibit. 
turn victa trepidant monstra, Centauri truces 
Lapithaeque multo in be! la succensi mero ; 
Stygiae paludis ultimos quaerens sinus 780 

fecunda mergit capita Lernaeus labor. 

Post haec avari Ditis apparet domus : 
hie saevus umbras territat Stygius canis, 
qui terna vasto capita concutiens sono 
regnum tuetur. sordidum tabo caput 
lambunt colubVae, viperis horrent iubae 
longusque torta sibilat cauda draco, 
par ira forinae. sensit ut motus pedum, 
attollit hirtas angue vibrato comas ] 

missumque captat aure subrecta sonum, 790 

sentire et umbras solitus. ut propior stetit 
love natus, antro sedit incertus canis 
leviterque timuit — ecce latratu gravi 
loca muta terret ; sibilat totos minax 
serpens per armos. vocis horrendae fragor 
per ora missus terna felices quoque 


pole he directs his craft. Now, having discharged his 
load, he is turning his boat towards the bank, seeking 
the ghosts again ; Alcides demands passage, while 
the crowd draws back. Fierce Charon cries : "Whither 
in such haste, bold man? Halt there thy hastening 
steps." Brooking no delay, Alcmena's son o'erpowers 
the ferryman with his own pole and climbs aboard. 
The craft, ample for whole nations, sinks low beneath 
one man ; as he takes his seat the o'erweighted boat 
with rocking sides drinks in Lethe on either hand. 
Then the monsters he had conquered are in a panic, 
the fierce Centaurs and the Lapithae whom too much 
wine had inflamed to war ; and, seeking the farthest 
fens of the Stygian swamp, Lema's labour ^ plunges 
deep his fertile heads. 

'^2 Next after this there appears the palace of 
greedy Dis. Here the savage Stygian dog frightens 
the shades ; tossing back and forth his triple heads, 
with huge bayings he guards the realm. Around his 
head, foul with corruption, serpents lap, his shaggy 
mane bristles with vipers, and in his twisted tail a 
long snake hisses. His rage matches his shape. 
Soon as he feels the stir of feet he raises his head, 
rough with darting snakes, and with ears erect catches 
at the onsped sound, wont as he is to hear even the 
shades. When the son of Jove stood closer^ within 
his cave the dog crouches hesitant and feels a touch 
of fear. Then suddenly, with deep bayings, he ter- 
rifies the silent places ; the snakes hiss threateningly 
along all his shoulders. The clamour of his dread- 
ful voice, issuing from triple throats, fills even the 

1 The Hydrx 


exterret umbras, solvit a laeva feros 
tunc ipse rictus et Cleonaeum caput 
opponit ac se tegmine ingenti tegit, 
victrice magnum dextera robur gerens. 800 

hue nunc et illuc verbere assiduo rotat, 
ingeminat ictus, domitus infregit minas 
et cuncta lassiis capita summisit canis 
antroque toto cessit. extimuit sedens 
uterque solio dominus et duci iubet ; 
me quoque petenti munus Alcidae dedit. 

Turn gravia monstri colla permulcens manu 
adamante texto vincit ; oblitus sui 
custos opaci pervigil regni canis 

componit aiires timidus et patiens trahi 810 

erumque fassus, ore summisso obsequens, 
utrumque cauda pulsat anguifera latus. 
postquam est ad oras Taenari ventura et niter 
percussit oculos lucis ignotae novus, 
resumit animos victus et vastas furens 
quassat catenas ; paene victorem abstulit 
pronumqiie retro vexit et movit gradu. 
tunc et meas respexit Alcides manus; 
geminis uterque viribus tractum canem 
ira furentem et bella temptantem inrita 820 

intulimus orbi. vidit ut clarum diem 
et pura nitidi spatia conspexit poli, 
oborta nox est^ lumina in terram dedit;* 
compressit oculos et diem invisum expulit 
1 Lto deletes this line. 



blessed shades with dread. Then from his left arm 
the hero looses the fierce-grinning jaws, thrusts out 
before him the Cleonaean ^ liead and, beneath that 
huge shield crouching, plies his mighty club with 
victorious right hand. Now here, now there, with 
unremitting blows he whirls it, redoubling the 
strokes. At last the dog, vanquished, ceases his 
threatenings and, spent with struggle, lowers all his 
heads and yields all wardship of the cavern. Both 
rulers ^ shiver on their throne, and bid lead the dog 
away. Me also they give as boon to Alcides* prayer. 
^"^ Then, stroking the monster's sullen necks, he 
binds him with chains of adamant. Forgetful of 
himself, the watchful guardian of the dusky realm 
droops his ears, trembling and willing to be led, 
owns his master, and with muzzle lowered follows 
after, beating both his sides with snaky tail. But when 
he came to the Taenarian borders, and the strange 
gleam of unknown light smote on his eyes, though 
conquered he regained his courage and in frenzy 
shook his ponderous chains. Almost he bore his 
conqueror away, back dragging him, forward bent, 
and forced him to give ground. Then even to my 
aid Alcides looked, and with our twofold strength we 
drew the dog along, mad with rage and attempting 
fruitless war, and brought him out to earth. But 
when he saw the bright light of day and viewed the 
clear spaces of the shining sky, black night rose 
over him and he turned his gaze to ground, closed 
tight his eyes and shut out the hated light ; back- 

* ».e. of the Neraean lion, so called from Cleonae, near 
Nemea, in Argolis. * Pluto and Proserpina. 


faciemque retro flexit atque omni petit 
cervice terram ; turn sub Herculeas caput 
abscondit umbras, densa sed laeto venit 
clamore turba frontibus laurum gerens 
magnique merilas Herculis laudes canit. 


Natus Eurystheus properante partu 830 

iusserat mundi penetrare fundum ; 
derat hoc solum numero laborum, 
tertiae regem spoliare sortis. 
ausus es caecos aditus inire, 
ducit ad manes via qua remotos 
tristis et nigra metuenda silva, 
sed frequens magna comitante turba. 

Quantus incedit populus per urbes 
ad novi ludos avidus theatri ; 
quantus Eleum riiit ad Tonantem, 840 

quinta cum sacrum revocavit aestas ; 
quanta^ cum longae redit hora nocti 
crescere et somnos cupiens quietos 
libra Phoebeos tenet aequa currus, 
turba secretam Cererem frequentat 
et citi tectis properant I'elictis 
Attici noctem celebrare mystae, 
tanta per campos agitur silentes 
turba ; pars tarda graditur senecta, 
tristis et longa satiata vita ; 850 

pars adhuc currit melioris aevi, 

ward he turned his face and with all his necks 
sought the earth ; then in the shadow of Hercules 
he hid his head. — But see, a dense throng comes 
on, glad shouting, with laurel wreaths upon their 
brows and chanting the well-won praises of great 


Eurystheus, brought to the light by birth un- 
timely, had bidden thee explore the world's founda- 
tions ; this only was lacking to thy tale of labours, 
to despoil the king of the third estate. Thou wast 
bold to enter the blind approach, where a way leads 
to the far-off shades, a gloomy way and fearsome with 
dark woods, but crowded with vast accompanying 
throngs. • 

8^® Great as the hostthat moves through city streets, 
eager to see the spectacle in some new theatre ; great 
as that which pours to the Elean^ Thunderer, when 
the fifth summer has brought back the sacred games ; 
great as the throng which (when the time comes 
again for night to lengthen and the balanced Scales,^ 
yearning for quiet slumber, check Phoebus' car) 
surges to Ceres' secret rites, and the initiates of 
Attica, quitting their homes, swiftly hasten to cele- 
brate their night — so great is the throng that is led 
through the silent plains. Some go slow with age, 
sad and sated with long life ; some still can run, 

^ i.e. Olympian. The reference is to the Olympic game?, 
celebrated in honour of Zeus. * See Index. 


virgines nondum thalamis iugatae 
et comis nondum positis ephebi, 
matris et nomen modo doctus infans. 
his datum solis, minus ut timerent, 
igne praelato relevare noctem ; 
ceteri vadunt per opaca tristes. 
qualis est vobis animus, remota 
luce cum maestus sibi quisque sensit 
obrutum tota caput esse terra ? 860 

Stat chaos densum tenebraeque turpes 
et color noctis malus ac silcntis 
otium mundi vacuaeque nubes. 

Sera nos illo referat senectus ; 
nemo ad id sero venit, unde numquani, 
cum semel venit, potuit reverti ; 
quid iuvat duruiu properare fatum? 
omnis haec magnis vaga turba terris 
ibit ad manes facietque inerti 
vela Cocyto. tibi crescit omne, 870 

et quod occasus videt et quod ortus 
— parce Venturis — tibi, mors, paramur. 
sis licet segnis, properamus ipsi ; 
prima quae vitam dedit hora, carpit. 

Thebis laeta dies adest. 
aras tangite, supplices, 
pingues caedite victimas ; 
permixtae maribus nurus 
sollemnes agitent choros ; 
cessent deposit© iugo 880 

arvi fertilis incolae. 


being of happier age — maidens, not yet in wedlock 
joined, youths with locks still unshorn, and babes 
that have but lately learned the name of " mother." 
To these last alone, that they be not afraid, 'tis 
given to lessen night's gloom by torches borne ahead ; 
the rest move sadly through the dark. O ye dead, 
what thoughts are yours when, light now banished, 
each has sorrowing felt his head o'erwhelmed 
'neath all the earth ? There are thick chaos, loath- 
some murk, night's baleful hue, the lethargy of a 
silent world and empty clouds. 

8" Late may old a^e tear us thither ! None comes 
too late unto that land, whence never, when once 
come, can he return. Why does it please us to hasten 
cruel fate ? For all this throng which wanders up 
and down the earth's vast spaces shall go to the world 
of shades and shall set sail on Cocytus' lifeless stream. 
For thee, O Death, all things are growing ; all that the 
setting sun, all that the rising, sees — oh, spare thou 
those who are sure to come — for thee are we all pre- 
paring. Though thou be slow, we hasten of our- 
selves ; the hour which first gave hfe is plucking it 

"5 Thebes' joyful day is here. Lay liold on the 
altars, ye suppliants ; slay the fat victims ; let hus- 
bands and wives together start up the festal dance ; 
let the tillers of the fertile field lay by the yoke 

and rest. 



Pax est Herculea manu 
Auroram inter et Hesperum, 
et qua sol medium tenens 
umbras corporibus negat ; 
quodcumque alluitur solum 
longo Tethyos ambitu, 
Alcidae domuit labor, 
transvectus vada Tartar! 
pacatis redit inferis ; 890 

lam nullus superest timor ; 
nil ultra iacet inferos. 

Stantes, sacrificus, A)mas 
dilecta tege populo. 


Victrice dextra fusus adverse Lycus 
terram cecidit ore ; tum quisquis comes 
fuerat tyranni iacuit et poenae comes, 
nunc sacra patri victor et su peris ferara 
caesisque meritas victimis aras col am. 

Te te laborum socia et adlutrix precor, 900 

belligera Pallas, cuius in laeva ciet 
aegis feroces ore saxifico minas ; 
adsit Lycurgi domitor et rubri maris, 
tectam virente cuspidem thyrso gerens, 
geminumque numen Phoebus et Phoebi soror, 
soror sagittis aptior, Phoebus lyrae, 
fraterque quisquis incolit caelum meus 
non ex noverca frater. 


**2 Peace reigns by the liand of Hercules from the 
land of the dawn to the evening star, and where the 
sun, holding mid-heaven, gives to shapes no shadows. 
Whatever land is washed by Tethys' far-reaching 
circuit Alcides' toil has conquered. He has crossed 
the streams of Tartarus, subdued the gods of the 
underworld, and has returned. And now no fear 
remains ; naught lies beyond the underworld. 

^'^ Now, priest, bedeck thy bristling^ hair with his 
well-loved poplar. 

[^Enler hercvles, Jrexhjrom the slcying o/*lycu9.] 


Felled by my conquering hand, Lycus face down 
has smitten the earth. Next, whoever had l)een the 
tvrant's comrade lies low, the comrade also of his 
punishment. And now as victor will I bring offerings 
to my father and to the heavenly gods, slay victims, 
and honour the altars with due sacrifice. 

'°° Thee, thee, O ally and helper of my toils, I pray, 
O warlike Pallas, on whose left arm the targe with 
its petrifying face sends forth fierce threats ; maybe, 
too, be near, the tamer * of Lycurgus and the ruddy 
sea,^ who bears a spear-point hidden beneath his vine- 
wreathed staff; and ye, twin deities, Phoebus and 
Phoebus' sister, the sister more ready with her 
arrows, Phoebus with his lyre ; and whatever brother 
of mine dwells in the sky — but not a brother from 
my stepdame born. 

* I.e. with the divine afflatas. Compare Virgil's description 
of the Sibyl, Aeneid VI. 48 : rwn eomptae mansere coniae. 

* Bacchus. 

* Which Bacchus crossed when he conquered India. 



Hue appellite 
greges opimos ; quidquid Indorum seges * 
Arabesque odoris quidquid arboribus legunt 9*0 

conferte in aras ; pinguis exundet vapor, 
populea nostras arbor exornet comas, 
te ramus oleae froude gentili tegat, 
Theseu ; Tonantem nostra adorabit manus, 
tu conditores urbis et silvestria 
trucis antra Zethi, nobilis Dircen ac[uae 
laremque regis advenae Tyriura coles, 
date tura flammis. 


Nate, manantes prius 
manus cruenta caede et hostili expia. 


Vtinam cruore capitis invisi deis 920 

libare possem ; gratior nullus liquor 
tinxisset aras; victima haut ulla aniplior 
potest magisque opima mactari lovi, 
quam rex iniquus. 


Finiat genitor tuos 
opta labores, detur aliquando otium 
quiesque fessis. 

^ Leo covjcctures a lacuna here, and tuggcsts that some such line 
as this has fallen out after 90D : 

praestut colonia igne propioris del. 


[Zo his attendants.^ 
'"^ Hither drive fat herds; whatever the fields of 
the Indians produce, whatever fragrant thing the 
Arabs gather from their treeSj heap on the altars ; let 
the rich smoke roll on high. Let wreaths of poplar 
bedeck our hair; but thee, O Theseus, an olive- 
Inanch, with thy own race's leaves, shall crown. The 
Thunderer shall my hand adore ; do thou ^ invoke the 
founders ofour city, the wooded caves of savage Zethus, 
Dirce of far- famed water, and the Tyrian house-gods 
of our pilgrim king.' Heap incense on the flames. 


O son, first purify thy hands, dripping with thy 
slaughtered foeman's blood. 


Would that I could pour out to the gods the 
blood of the man I hate ; no more pleasing stream 
had stained the altars ; no greater, richer victim can 
be sacrificed to Jove than an unrighteous king. 


Pray that thy father end thy toils, that at last 
rest and repose be given to the weary. 

^ Addressed to Amphitryon. * Cadmus. 

2 P 81 



Ipse concipiam preces 
love rneque dignas : stet suo caelum loco 
tellusque et aequor; astra inoffensos agant 
aeterna cursus ; alta pax gentes alat ; 
ferrum omne teneat ruris innocui labor 930 

ensesque lateant; nulla tempestas fretum 
violenta turbet, nullus irato love 
exiliat ignis^ nullus hiberna nive 
nutritus agros amnis eversos trabat. 
venena cessent, nulla nocituro gravis 
suco tumescat herba. non saevi ac truces 
regnent tyranni. si quod etiamnum est scelus 
latura tellus, properet, et si quod parat 
monstrum, meum sit. 

Sed quid hoc? medium diem 
cinxere tenebrae. Phoebus obscuro meat 940 

sine nube vultu. quis diem retro fugat 
agitque in ortus? unde nox atrum caput 
ignota profert ? unde tot stellae polum 
implent diurnae ? primus en noster labor 
caeli refulget parte non minima leo 
iraque totus fervet et morsus parat. 
iam rapiet aliquod sidus ; ingenti minax 
stat ore et ignes efflat et rutila iubam 
cervice iactans quidquid autumnus gravis 
hiemsque gelido frigida spatio refert 95 

uno impetu transiliet et verni petet 
frangetque tauri colia. 




Myself will I frame prayers worthy of Jupiter 
and me : May heaven abide in its own place^ and 
earth and sea ; may the eternal stars hold on their 
way unhindered ; may deep peace brood upon the 
nations ; may the harmless country's toil employ all 
iroHj and may swords lie hid ; may no raging tempest 
--tir up the sea^ no fires leap forth from angered Jove, 
no river, fed by^ winter's snows, sweep away the up- 
torn fields. Let poisons cease to be. Let no de- 
structive herb swell with harmful juice. May savage 
and cruel tyrants rule no more. If earth is still to 
produce any wickedness, let her make haste, and if 
slie is preparing any monster, let it be niine.^ 

[The madness planned by juNo begins to come 
upon himJ\ 

^^^ But what is this .'' Shadows have begirt mid- 
day. Phoebus fares with darkened face though there 
be no cloud. Who puts the day- to flight and drives 
it back to dawn .'' Whence does an unfamiliar night 
rear its black head } Whence do so many stars fill the 
sky though it is day } See where the lion, my first toil, 
glows in no small part of heaven, is all hot with rage, 
and makes ready his fangs. Forthwith he will seize 
s(jme star ; threatening he stands with gaping jaws, 
and breathes forth fires, and shakes the mane upon 
his flaming neck ; whatever stars sickly autumn and 
cold winter with its frozen tracts bring back, with one 
bound will he o'erleap, and attack and crush the neck 
of the vernal Bull. 

* i.e. to destroy, as he had destroyed so many other earth- 
born monsters. 




Quod subitum hoc malum est? 
quo, uale, vultus hue et hue aeres relcis 
aeieque f'alsum turbida caelum vides? 


Perdomita tellus, tumida ccsserunt freta, 
mferna nostros regna sensere im})etus ; 
immune caelum est, dignus Alcide labor, 
ill alta mundi spatia subliinis ferar, 
petatur aether ; astra promittit pater, 
quid, si negaret ? noii capit terra Herculein 96O 
tandemque superis reddit. en ultro vocat 
omnis deorum coetus et laxat fores, 
una vetante. recipis et reseras polum? 
an coiitumacis ianuam mundi traho ? 
dubitatur etiam ? vincla Saturno exuara 
contiaque patris impii regnum impotens 
avum resolvam ; bella Titanes parent, 
me duce furentes ; saxa cum silvis feram 
rapiamque dextra plena Centauris iuga. 
iam moiite gemino limitem ad superos agam ; 970 
videat sub Ossa Pelion Chiron suum, 
in caelum Olympus tertio positus gradu 
perveniet aut mittetur. 


Infandos procul 
averte sensus ; pectoris sani j)arum 
magni tamen compesce dementem impetum. 

' i.e. Jove has promised to deify his sou. This is one 
the chief themes in Jlercules Oetaeus. 




What sudden ill is this ? Why, my son, dost 
turn thy keen eyes now here, now there, and look 
upon an unreal sky with troubled gaze ? 


The earth has been subdued, the swollen seas are 
at rest, the infernal realms have felt my onset ; 
heaven is as yet untried, a task worthy of Alcides. 
To the lofty regions of the universe on high let me 
make my way, let me seek the skies ; the stars are my 
father's promise.^ And wliat if he should not keep 
his word ? Earth has not room for Hercules, and at 
length restores him unto heaven. See, the Avhole 
company of the gods of their own will summons me, 
and opens wide the door of heaven, with one alone 
forbidding. And wilt thou unbar the sky and take 
me in ? Or shall I carry off the doors of stubborn 
heaven.'' Dost even doubt my power? I'll free 
Saturn from his bonds, and against my unfiliaP 
father's lawless sway I'll loose my grandsire. Let 
the Titans prepare war, with me to lead their 
rage ; rocks, woods and all, will I bring, and with 
my right hand I'll snatch up ridges full of Centaurs. 
Now with twin mountains I'll construct a pathway 
to the realms above ; Chiron shall see his own Pelion 
'neath Ossa, and Olympus, set as third in order, shall 
reach clean to heaven — or else I'll hurl it there ! 


Have done with these horrible imaginings ! Re- 
press the mad fury of thy proud heart, no longer sane. 

' Jove with his two brothers had driven their father, Saturn, 
from the throne. 




Quid hoc ? Gigantes arma pestiferi movent, 
profugit umbras Tityos ac lacerum gerens 
et inane pectus quam prope a caelo stetit. 
labat Cithaeron, alta Pellene tremit 
marcentque ^ Tempe. rapuit hie Pindi iuga, 980 
hie rapuit Oeten, saevit horrendum Mimans. 
flammifera Erinys verbere excusso sonat 
rogisque adustas propius ac propius sudes 
in ora tendit. saeva Tisiphone, caput 
serpentibus vallata, post raptum eanem 
portam vacantem clausit opposita face. — ■ 

Sed ecce proles regis inimici latet, 
Lyci nefandum semen ; inviso patri 
haec dextra iam vos reddet. exciitiat leves 
nervus sagittas — tela sic mitti decet 990 



Quo se caecus impegit furor? 
vastum coactis flexit arcum cornibus 
pharetramque solvit, stridet emissa impetu 
harundo — medio spiculum coUo fugit 
vulnere relicto. 


Ceteram prolem eruam 
omnesque latebras. quid moror ? maius mihi 

^ So Richter, with A : Leo, with E, Macetum. 



What's this ? The baleful Giants are taking 
arms. Tityos has escaped the shades and, with 
l)reast all torn and empty, has almost reached the 
sky. Cithaeron is tottering^ lofty Pellene quakes, 
a;:d Tempe's beauty fades. Here one Giant has 
-eized Pindus' peak, there one has seized Oete, 
Nvhile horribly Nlimas rages. Fiery Erinys cracks 
her brandished scourge, and closer, closer yet, 
holds out before my face brands burnt on funeral 
pyres. Crufl Tisiphone, her head with snakes en- 
circled, since the dog was stolen away has blocked 
the empty gate with her outstretched torch. 

[He catches tight of his children.] 

^^' But look! here lurk the children of the king, 
my enemy, the abominable spawn of Lycus ; to 
your detested father this hand forthwith shall 
-end you. Let my bowstring discharge swift 
arrows — so it is meet that the shafts of Hercules 
should fly. 


To what deed is his blind fury driven } He has 
bent his huge bow, the tips drawn close together ; 
he has opened his quiver ; shrilly sings the shaft, 
discharged with force — it has struck the neck full in 
the middle and sjied out past the wound. 


The rest of the brood will I rout out and 
all their hiding-places. Why delay .-' A greater 


bellum Mycenis restat, ut Cyclopia ' 

eversa manibus saxa nostris concidant. 
Hue eat et illuc valva deiecto obice 
rumpatque postes ; culmen impulsum labet. 1000 
perlucet omnis regia ; bic video abdilum 
natum scelesti patris. 


En blandas manus 
ad genua tendens voce miseranda rogat — 
scelus nefandum, triste et aspectu horridum • 
dextra precantem rapuit et circa furens 
bis ter rotatum misit; ast illi caput 
sonuit^ cerebro tecta disperso madent. 
at misera, parvum protegens natum sinu, 
Megara furenti siniilis e latebris fugit. 


Licet tonantis profuga condaris sinu, 1010 

petet undecumque temet haec dextra et feret. 


Quo, misera, pergis ? quam fugam aut latebram 

petis ? 


struggle awaits me at Mycenae, that there, by 
these hands overthrown, the Cyclopean rocks may 


[He begins to tear at the doors of the shrine in which 
his remaining sons have taken refuge.^ 

*" Let the doors fly, one here, one there, the 
barriers cast down and burst the posts asunder; let 
the smitten roof reel. The whole palace is alight; I 
see hiding there the son of a cursed sire. 

[i/e seizes the child and drags him from the scene.^ 


[Standing where he can see what is going on 
within the palace.^ 
See, how he stretches out coaxing hands to his 
father's knees, and with piteous voice begs — oh, 
impious crime, grim and horrid sight ! With his 
right hand he has caught the pleading child, and, 
madly whirling him again and yet again, has hurled 
him ; his head crashed loudly against the stones ; the 
room is drenched with scattered brains. But Megara, 
poor woman, sheltering her little son within her 
bosom, flees like a mad creature from her hiding- 


[Behind the scene to megara, also behind the scene.'\ 
Though thou run and hide in the Thunderer's 

bosom, everywhence shall this hand seek thee and 

hale thee forth. 


Whither dost thou flee, poor child .'' What flight 
or what hiding-place dost thou seek ? There is no 


nullus salutis Hercule infesto est locus, 
amplectere ipsum potius et blanda prece 
lenire tempta. 


Parce iam, coniunx, precor, 
agnosce Megaram. natus hie vultus tuos 
habitusque reddit ; cernis, ut tendat manus ? 


Teneo novercam. sequere, da poenas mihi 
iugoque pressum libera turpi lovem ; 
sed ante matrem parvulum hoc monstrum 

occidat. 1020 


Quo tendis amens ? sanguinem fundcs tuum ? 


Pavefactus infons igneo vultu patris 
perit ante vulnus, spiritum eripuit timor 
in coniugem nunc clava libratur gravis — • 
perfregit ossa, corpori trunco caput 
abest nee usquam est. 

Cernere hoc audes^ nimis 
vivax senectus .'' si piget luctus^ habes 
mortem paratam ; pectus in tela indue, 
vel stipitem istuc caede nostrorum inlitum 
converte. falsum ac nomini turpem tuo 1030 

remove parentem, ne tuae laudi obstrepat, 


place safe from Hercules enraged. Embrace him, 
rather, and essay to calm him with soothing prayers. 


Husband, spare me now, I beg. See, I am 
Megara. This is thy son, with thine own looks and 
bearing. See, how he stretches out his hands. 


I have caught my stepdame. Come, pay me 
thy debt, and free o'ermastered Jove from a de- 
grading yoke.i But before the mother let this little 
monster perish. 


What wouldst thou, madman ? Thine own blood 
wilt thou shed .'' 


Stricken with terror of his sire's blazing eyes, 
the child died ere he felt the blow ; fear snatched 
his life away. Against his wife now he poises his 
heavy club — her bones are crushed, her head is gone 
from her mangled body, gone utterly. 

10-6 [To himself.] Darest thou abide this sight, O 
too stubborn age ? If thou art weary of grief, death 
thou hast ready ; expose thy breast to those shafts, 
or turn against it that club smeared with our 
children's gore. [Calling to hercules.] Make away 
with thy pretended sire, this blot upon thy name, 
lest he make discord midst thy praise. 

^ He imagines that Megara is Juno, and now he will pay 
oflf old scores both in his own and Jove's interests. 




Quo te ipse, senior^ obvium morti ingeris ? 
quo pergis amens ? profuge et obtectus late 
unumque manibus aufer Herculeis scelus. 


Bene habet, pudendi regis excisa est domus. 
tibi hunc dicatiim, maximi coniunx lovis, 
gregem cecidi ; vota persolvi libens 
te digna, et Argos vietimas alias dabit. 


Nondum litasti, nate ; consiimma sacrum, 
stat ecce ad aras liostia, expectat manuni 1040 

cervice prona. praebeo occurro insequor ; 
macta — quid hoc est ? errat acies luminum 
visusque marcor hebetat ; an video Herculis 
manus trementes ? vultus in somnum cadit 
et fessa cervix capite summisso labat ; 
flexo genu iam totus ad terram ruit, 
ut caesa silvis omus aut portura mar! 
datura moles. 

Vivis an leto dedit 
idem tuos qui misit ad mortem furor? 



Why, old man, dost wantonly challenge death ? 
Whither wouldst go, senseless ? Flee and securely 
hide thee, and save the hands of Hercules from the 
one crime left. 

[^Re-enter hercules.] 


'Tis well ; the shameless king's house is utterly 
destroyed. To thee, wife of almighty Jove, have I 
slaughtered this devoted flock ; vows worthy of 
thee have I paid right joyfully, and Argos ^ shall 
give still other victims. 


Not yet hast thou made fiill atonement, son ; 
complete the sacrifice. See, a victim stands before 
the altar ; with bent neck he awaits the stroke. I 
offer myself to death, I run to meet it, I follow after 
it ; smite — but what is this ? The glance of his 
eyes wanders, and faintness dulls his vision. Do 
1 see the hands of Hercules a-tremble.'' His eyelids 
fall in slumber, and his tired neck sinks beneath 
his drooping head ; now his knees give way and his 
whole body goes crashing to the ground, like an 
ash-tree felled in the woods, or a falling mass of 
rock that will give a breakwater to the sea. 


1048 Livest thou still, or has that same madness given 
thee to death which sent thy kindred to their doom } 
[He examines the prostrate bodt/.^ 

* Eurystheus was lord of Argos. 



sopor est ; reciprocos spiritus motus agit. 1050 

detur quieti tempus, ut somno gravi 
vis victa morbi pectus oppressum levet. 
removete, famuli^ tela^ ne repetat furens. 

Lugeat aether magnusque parens 
aetheris alti tellusque ferax 
et vaga ponti mobilis unda^ 
tuque ante omnes qui per terras 
tractusque maris fundis radios 
noctemque fugas ore decoro, 
fervide Titan ; obitus pariter IO6O 

tecum Alcides vidit et ortus 
novitque tuas utrasque domos. 

Solvite tantis animum monstris, 
solvite superi, caecam in melius 
flectite mentem. tuque^ o domitor 
Somne malorum, requies animij 
pars humanae melior vitae, 
volucre o matris genus Astraeae, 
frater durae languide Mortis, 
veris miscens falsa, futuri 1070 

certus et idem pessimus auctor, 
pax errorum, portus vitae, 
lucis requies noctisque comes, 
qui par regi famuloque venis, 
pavidum leti genus humanum 
cogis longam discere noctem — ■ 
placidus fessum lenisque fove, 
preme devinctura torpore gravi ; 
sopor indomitos alliget artus 
nee torva prius pectora linquat, 1080 

quam mens repetat pristina cursum. 


He sleeps ; his chest heaves with measured breathing. 
Let him have time for rest, that deep slmnber may 
break the force of his madness and relieve his 
troubled heart. Ye slaves, remove his weapons, lest 
in rage he seek them yet again. 


Let heaven mourn, and the great father of high 
heaven, and fertile earth, and wandering waves of the 
restless main ; and thou above all, who over the lands 
and stretches of the sea dost shed thy rays, and dispel- 
lest night with comely face, O glowing Sun ; equally 
with thee hath Alcides seen the lands of thy setting 
and thy rising, and hath known both thv dwellings. 

1063 Q ffgg jjjs sQu] from such monstrous ills, free 
him, ye gods, and turn to better things his darkened 
spirit. And do thou, O Sleep, vanquisher of woes, 
rest of the soul, the better part of human life, thou 
winged son of thy mother Astraea, sluggish brother 
of cruel Death, thou who dost mingle false with true, 
sure yet gloomy guide ^ to what shall be ; O thou, 
who art peace after wanderings, haven of life, day's 
respite and night's comrade, who comest alike to 
king and slave, who dost compel the human race, 
trembling at death, to prepare for unending night — 
sweetly and gently soothe his weary spirit ; hold 
him fast bound in heavy stupor ; let slumber chain 
his untamed limbs, and leave not his savage breast 
until his former mind regain its course. 

* Perhaps because dreams are generally of evil. 



En fusus humi saeva feroci 
corde volutat somnia ; uondum est 
tauti pestis superala mali ; 
clavaeque gravi lassum solitus 
mandai'e caput quaerit vacua 
pondera dextra, motu iactans 
braccliia vano. nee adhuc oniues 
expulit aestus, sed ut ingenti 
vexata noto servat longos IO9O 

unda tumultus et iam vento 
cessante tumet 1 * * pelle iusauos 
fluctus animi, redeat pietas 
virtusque viro. vel sit potius 
mens vesano concita motu ; 
error caecus qua coepit eat ; 
solus te iam praestare potest 
furor insontem. proxima puris 
sors est manibus nescire nefas. 

Nunc Herculeis percussa soiient 1100 

pectora palmis, mundum solitos 
ferre lacertos verbera pulsent 
vietrice manu ; gemitus vastos 
audiat aether, audiat atri 
regina poli vastisque ferox 
qui colla gerit vincta catenis 
imo latitans Cerberus antro ; 
resonet maesto clamore chaos 
latique patens unda profundi 
et qui niedius tua tela tamen 1110 

senserat aer ; ^ 
pectora tantis obsessa malis 

* Leo recognizes a lacuna here with Wilhof, and suggests the 
completion of the sentence thus: sic pristina adhuc quatit ira 

^ et qui . . . aer, deleted by B. Schmidt, foUoiced by Leo. 



'°82 See, prone on the ground, he revolves in his 
fierce heart his savage dreams ; not yet has the 
baleful power of so great woe been overcome ; wont 
to recline his weary head on his heavy club, he feels 
for its ponderous trunk with empty hand, tossing his 
arms in fruitless movement. Not yet has he dis- 
pelled all his surging madness, but as the waves, 
stirred up by a mighty wind, still keep their long, 
tumultuous roll, and still are swollen though the wind 
has ceased, [so does his former rage still rack the 
hero.] Banish ^ the mad passions of thy soul ; let 
the hero's piety and manly courage come again. 
Or rather, let his mind still be stirred by uncon- 
trolled emotioij ; let his blind error go on the way 
it has begun ; madness alone can now make thee 
_ianocent. Next best to guiltless hands is ignorance 
of guilty 

1100 Xow let Hercules* breast resound beneath the 
blows of his palms ; let those arms that were wont 
to upbear the universe be smitten by his victorious 
hands ; let the heavens hear his mighty groans, let 
the queen of the dark world hear, and fierce Cerberus, 
crouching in his lowest cave, his necks still bound 
with chains ; let Chaos re-echo the outcries of his 
grief, and the spreading waves of the broad deep, 
and mid-air which no less had felt thy shafts ; the 
breast beset by so great ills must by no light blow be 

^ The poet wavers in his conception of the person addressed 
throughout this passage (1092-1121). 

I o 97 


non sunt ictn ferienda levi, 

uno planet u tria regna sonent. 

et tu coUo decus ac telum 

suspcnsa diu, fortis harundo, 

pharetraeque graves, date saeva fero 

verbera tergo ; caedant iimeros 

robora fortes stii)esque potens 

duris laceret ^ pectora nodis : 1 120 

plangant tantos anna dolores. 

Ite infaustuni genus, o pueri, 1 I3r> 

noti per iter triste laboris, 1 1 36 

non vos patriae laudis comites 1122 

ulti saevos vulnere reges, 
non Argiva membra palaestra 
flectere docti fortes caestu 1 1 25 

fortesque manu nondumque ferae 11 SO 

terga iubatae 2 * * jam tamen ausi 1 1 26 

telum Scythicis leve corytis 
missum certa librare manu 

tutosque fuga figere cervos — 1 1 2.9 

ite ad Stygios, umbrae, portus ' 1131 

ite, innocuae, quas in primo 
limine vitae seel us oppressit 

patriusque furor ; 1 1 34 

ite, iratos visite reges. 1137 


Quis hie locus, quae regio, quae niundi plaga 
ubi sum ? sub ortu solis, an sub cardine 
glacialis ursae ? numquid Hesperii maris I 140 

extrema tellus hunc dat Oceano modum ? 

^ laceret Leo : oneret MSS, 

* Leo assumes a lacuna here which he supplies with the line 
vulnere gaesi frangere torti. 


smitten ; with one lamentation three kingdoms must 
resound. And thou, brave reed, which hung so long 
as ornament and weapon from his neck, and thou, 
heavy quiver, lay savage blows on his untamed back ; 
let the stout oak club mangle his strong shoulders and 
with its hard knots bruise his breast ; let his weapons 
make lament for his mighty woes. 

^^^5 Qq ye, ill-fated brood,ye boys, along the gloomy 
way of your father's famous task, not destined to be 
partakers of his praise by taking bloody vengeance 
on savage kings ; never taught in Argive wrestling 
school to ply the limbs, brave with boxing-glove 
and brave with hand, never yet taught to wound 
the maned lion with well-hurled javelin, but yet 
already bold to poise and throw with steady hand the 
slender Scythian dart, and shoot the deer that seek 
safety in flight — go to the haven of the Styx, go, 
harmless shades whom on the very threshold of life 
your sire's mad crime o'ercame ; go, go to the presence 
of the angered kings. ^ 


[fVaking up in his right mind.^ 

What place is this .'' What region, what quarter 

of the world .'' Where am I .'' Beneath the sun's 

rising or beneath the wheeling course of the frozen 

Bear.^ Is this the boundary set to Ocean's stream 

by that farthest land on the western sea .'' What air 

^ i.e. the lords of death, angry because Hercules had defied 



quas trahimus auras ? quod solum fesso subest ? 
certe redimus — 

Unde prostrata ad domum 
video cruenta corpora ? an nondum exuit 
simulacra mens inferna ? post reditus quoque 
oberrat oculis turba feralis meis ? 
pudet fateri — paveo ; nescio quod mihi, 
nescio quod animus grande praesagit malum, 
ubi es, j)arens ? ubi ilia natorum grege 
animosa coniunx ? cur latus laevum vacat 1150 

spolio leonis ? quonam abit tegimen meum 
idemque somno mollis Herculeo torus ? 
ubi tela ? ubi arcus ? arma quis vivo mi hi 
detrahere potuit ? spolia quis tanta abstulit 
ipsumque quis non Herculis somnum horruit? 
libist meum videre victorem, libet. 
exurge, virtus^ quem novum caelo pater 
genuit relicto, cuius in fetu stetit 
nox longior quam nostra — 

Quod cerno nefns? 
nati cruenta caede confecti iacent, 1 1 60 

perempta coniunx. quis Lycus regnum obtinet ? 
quis tanta Thebis scelera moliri ausus est ^ 
Hercule reverso ? quisquis Ismeni loca, 
Actaea quisquis arva^ qui gemino mari 
pulsata Pelopis regna Dardanii colis, 
succurre, saevae cladis auctorem indica. 
ruat ira in omnes ; hostis est quisquis mihi 
non monstrat hostem. victor Alcidae, lates r 

^ Leo deletes thit line. 



is this I breathe ? \\ hat soil lies beneath my weary 
frame ? Surely I have returned to earth — 

[His eyes foil on his murdered cfiildren.^ 

^^*^ How is it that I see bloody corpses lying before 
my house ? Is my mind not yet free from infernal 
phantoms ? Even after my return do troops of 
ghastly things still throng before my eyes ? With 
shame I confess it — I am afraid ; something, some 
great calamity my heart forebodes. Where art thouj 
father ? Where is my wife, so proud of her brood of 
sons? Why is my left shoulder bare of the lion's 
spoil? Whither has it gone, that shield of mine, at 
once a soft couch, too, for the sleep of Herciiles? 
Where are my shafts ? my bow ? Who has been able 
to steal away my arms while I still live ? Who has 
gained so great spoils of me, and has not shuddered 
at even a sleeping Hercules ? Glad would I be 
to see my conqueror, glad. Come forth, thou brave 
hero, whom my sire, leaving heaven, has begotten, a 
later son, at whose begetting night stood still, longer 
than at mine — 

[He lecognizes fiis dead wife and children.^ 

1159 What horror do I see ? My sons, with bloody 
murder destroyed, lie here, my wife lies slain. What 
Lycus holds sway now ? Who has dared perpetrate 
such outrages in Thebes, though Hercules has re- 
turned ? Whoever dwellest by Ismenus' stream, on 
Attic plains, in the kingdom of Dardanian Pelops, 
lapped by two seas, come to my aid, tell me the 
doer of this cruel murder. On all let mine anger 
sweep ; my foeman is he who points not out the 
foe. V^auquisher of Alcides, hidest thou? Come 


precede, seu tu vindicas currus truces 
Thracis cruenti sive Geryonae pecus 1170 

Libyaeve dominos, nulla pugnandi mora est. 
en nudus asto, vel uieis araiis licet 
petas inermem. 

Cur meos Theseus fugit 
paterque vultus ? ora cur condunt sua ? 
differte fletus ; quis meos dederit neci 
omnes simul, profare— quid, genitor, siles? 
at tu ede, Theseu, sed tua, Theseu, fide, 
uterque tacitus ora pudibunda obtegit 
fnrtimque lacrimas fundit. in tantis malis 
quid est pudendum f numquid Argivae impotens 
dominator urbis, numquid infestum Lyci 1181 

pereuntis agmen clade nos tanta obruit ? 
per te meorum facinorum laudem precor, 
genitor, tuique noininis semper mihi 
numen secundum, fare, quis fudit domum f 
cui praeda iacui .'' 


Tacita sic abeant mala. 


Vt inultus ego sim ? 


Saepe vindicta obfuit. 


out ; whether thou dost seek vengeance for the 
savage horses of the b'oody Thracian/ or for 
Geryon's flock, or the Libyan heroes,* I am ready 
for the fray. Here I stand defenceless, e'en though 
with my own arms thou shouldst assail me armourless. 
^^'^ Why does Theseus avoid my ej-es, why does 
my father ? Why do they hide their faces ? Post- 
pone your tears. Who has given my loved ones to 
death, all of them at once, tell me — why, father, 
art thou silent ? But do thou tell, Theseus ! Nay, 
Theseus, tell me by thy loyalty! — They both in silence 
turn away and hide tlieir faces as if in shame, while 
tears steal down their cheeks. In woes so great what 
room is there for shame ? Has the ruthless lord ' 
of Argos, has the hostile band of dying Lycus, in 
ruin so vast overwhelmed nie ? O father, by the 
glory of my deeds, T pray thee, and by thy sacred 
name * always next ^ hallowed in my sight, speak 
out ! who has overthrown my house ? To whom have 
I fallen prey? 


In silence, as they may, let troubles pass. 


And I be unavenged ? 


Oft vengeance has brought bane. 

1 Diomedes. ' e.g. Antaeus, Busiris. 

' Eurystheus. * i.e. of father. 

• i.e. next to that of Jove, real father of Hercules. The 
play on the words nomen and numen caonot be reproduced in 




Quisquamne segnis tanta toleravit mala? 


Maiora quisquis timuit. 


His etiam, pater, 
quicquam timeri mains aut gravius potest? 1190 


Cladis tuae pars ista quam nosti quota est ' 


Miserere, genitor, supplices tendo manus. 
quid hoc ? manus refugit — hie errat scelus, 
unde hie cruor ? quid ilia puerili madens 
harundo leto ? tiiicta Lernaea est nece — ■ 
iam tela video nostra, non quaero nianum. 
quis potuit areum Hectere aut quae dextera 
sinuare nervum vix rccedentem mihi ? 
ad vos reverter; genitor, hoc nostrum est scelus ? 
tacuere — nostrum est. 


Luctus est istic tuus, 1200 

crimen novercae. casus hie culpa caret. 


Nunc parte ab omni, genitor, iratus tona 
oblite nostii vindica sera manu 
104. furens 


Has any e'er borne such woes supinely ? 


Yes, he who greater woes has feared. 


But tlian these, father, can aught still greater or 
heavier be feared ? 


How small the part of thy calamity is that thou 
knowest ! 


Have pity, father ; see, I stretch out suppliant 
hands. What ? from my hands he started back 
— here lurks the sin. Whence this blood ? What 
of that shaft, still dripping with the blood of 
boys.'' It has been dipped in Hydra's gore — ah, now 
my own weapons do I recognize. No need to ask 
the hand that used them ! Who could have bent 
the bow or what hand drawn the string which scarce 
yields to me ? I turn to you again ; father, is this my 
deed } Silent still — 'tis mine. 


Truly the woe is thine ; the crime thy step)- 
dame's. This mischance is free from sin. 


Now from every quarter of the sky, O father, 
thunder in thy wrath ; though thou hast forgotten 


saltern nepotes. stelliger mundiis sonet 
flammasque et hie et ille iaculetiir polus ; 
rupes ligatum Caspiae corpus trahant 
atque ales avida — cur Promethei vacant 
scopuli ? vacat cur vertice immenso feras 
volucresque pascens Caucasi abruptum latus 
nudumque silvis ? ilia quae pontum Scythen 1210 
Symplegas artat hinc et hine vinctas manus 
distendat alto, cumque revocata vice 
in se coibunt saxaque in caelum expriment 
aclis utrimque rupibus medium mare, 
ego inquieta montium iaceam mora, 
quin structum acervans nemore congesto aggerem 
cruore corpus impio sparsum cremo ? 
sic, sic agendum est — inferis reddara Herculem. 


Nondum tumultu pectus attonito carens 
mutavit iras quodque habet proprium furor, 1220 

in se ipse saevit. 


Dira Furiarum loca 
et inferorum career et sonti plaga 
decreta turbae, si quod exilium latet 
ulterius Erebo, Cerbero ignotum et mihi, 
hoc me abde, tellus ; Tartari ad finem ultimum 
mansurus ibo. pectus o nimium ferum ! 
quis vos per omnem, liberi, sparsos domura 
deflere digne poterit ? hie durus malis 


me, with tardy hand at least avenge thy grandsons. 
Let the starry lieavens resound, and the skies dart 
lightnings from pole to pole ; let the Caspian crags ' 
claim my fettered body, and let the ravenous bird — 
Why are Prometheus' crags unoccupied ? Why, the 
bare, steep side of Caucasus which, on its lofty sum- 
mit, feeds beasts and birds of prey ? Let those clash- 
ing rocks ^ which confine the Scythian sea stretch 
my fettered hands apart this way and that o'er the 
deep, and, when with recurrent change they come 
together and when, as the crags rush from either 
side, the rocks force up to heaven the interposing 
flood, may I lie there the mountains' tortured curb. 
Nay, I will build me a huge pile of logs and burn my 
body spattered with impious gore. Thus, thus must 
I do — to the nether gods will I give back Hercules. 


His heart, not yet eased of frenzy's tumult, has 
shifted its wrath's aim and now, sure sign of madness, 
he rages against himself. 


Ye dire abodes of fiends, prison-house of the 
dead, ye regions set apart for the guilty throng, if 
any place of banishment lies hidden away beneath 
hell itself, unknown to Cerberus and me, hide me 
there, O earth ; to the remotest bounds of Tartarus 
will I go and there abide. O heart too fierce ! Who 
can weep worthily for you, my children, scattered 
through all my house.'' This face, hardened with 

1 To which Prometheus had been bound, and from which 
T'i'rcules released him. 
* The Symplegadea. See Index. 


lacrimare vultus nescit. hue arcum date, 
date hue sagittas, stipitem hue vastum dale. 1230 

Tibi tela frangam nostra, libi nostros, puer, 
rumpemus arcus ; at tuis stipes gravis 
ardebit unibris ; ipsa Lernaeis frequens 
pharetra tehs in tuos ibit rogos. 
dent arma poenas. vos quoque infaustas meis 
cremabo tehs, o novercales manus. 


Quis nomen usquam sceleris errori addidit? 


Saepe error ingens sceleris obtinuit locum. 


Nunc Hercule opus est; perfer lianc molem mali. 


Non sic furore cessit extinctus pudor, 1240 

populos ut omnes impio aspectu fugem. 
anna, arma, Theseu, flagito propere mihi 
subtracta reddi. sana si mens est mihi, 
referte manibus tela ; si remanet furor, 
pater, recede ; mortis inveniam viam. 


Per sancta generis sacra, per ius nominis 
utrumque nostri, sive me altorem vocas 



woe, has forgotten how to weep. Give my bow 
here, give me my arrows, here give me my huge 
\He bends over the corpses and addresses each in /wm.] 
1231 YoT thee will I break my shafts, for thee, 
poor boy, will I rend my bow ; but to thy shades my 
heavy club shall burn ; my quiver itself, full of 
Leriia's darts, shall go with thee to thy pyre. So 
let my arms pay the penalty. You^ too, with my 
weapons will 1 burn, O cursed, O stepdame's hands. 


What man anywhere hath laid on error the name 
of guilt ? 


Oft hath great error held the place of guilt. 


Now must thou be Hercules; bear thou this 
weight of trouble. 


Shame, quenched by madness, has not so far 
gone from me that with unhallowed presence I 
should scare all peoples. Arms, Theseus, my arms! 
I pray you quickly give back what you have stolen. 
If my mind is sane, give back to my hands their 
weapons; if madness still remains, fly, O my father; 
I shall find a path to death. 


By the holy ties of birth, by the right of both 
my names, whether thou dost call me foster-father 



seu tu parenteiTij perque venerandos piis 

canos, seiiectae parce desertae, precor, 

annisque fessis; unicuni lapsae domus 1250 

firmamerij unum lumen afflicto malis 

temet reserva. nullus ex te contigit 

fructus laborum ; semjjer ant dubium mare 

aut monstia timui ; quisquis in toto furit 

rex saevus orbe, manibus aut aris nocens, 

a me timetur ; semper absentis pater 

fruetum lui tactumque et aspectum peto. 


Cur animam in ista luce detineam amplius 
morerque nil est; cuncta iam amisi bona : 
nientem arma famam coniugem natos manus, I260 
etiam furorem ! nemo polluto queat 
animo medcri ; morte sanandum est scelus. 


Perimes parenlem. 


Facere ne possimj occidam. 


Genitore coram ? 


Cernere hunt- docui nefas. 


Memoranda potius omnibus facta intuens 
unius a te criminis veniam pete. 


or true sire, by tliese grey hairs, which pious sons 
revere, spare thyself, I pray, to my lonely age and to 
my weary years. Sole prop of my fallen house, sole 
light of my woe-darkened life, save thyself for me. 
No enjoyment of thee, no fruit of thy toils has fallen 
to my lot; but always have I had to fear either the 
stormy seas or monsters ; every ciiiel king that rages 
in all the world with guilt on his hands or altars is 
cause of dread to me ; always do I, thy father, yearn 
for the joy of touch and sight of thee, my ever-absent 


Why I should longer stay my soul in the light 
of day, and linger here, there is no cause; all that 
was dear to me I've lost : reason, arms, honour, 
wife, children, strength — and madness too! No 
power could purge a tainted spirit ; by death must 
sin be healed. 


Thou'lt olay thy father. 


Lest I do so, I'll die. 


Before thy father's eyes ? 


I have taught him to look on impious deeds. 


Nay, rather think upon thy deeds glorious to all, 
and seek from thyself pardon for one sin. 




Veniam dabit sibi ipse, qui nulli dedit ? 
laudanda feci iussus ; hoe unum meum est 
succurre, genitor ; sive te pietas movet 
seu tiiste fatum sive violatum decus 1270 

virtutis. effer arma ; vincatur mea 
fortuna dextra. 


Sunt quidem patriae preces 
satis efficaces, sed tamen nostro quoque 
movere fletu. surge et adversa impetu 
perfringe solito. nunc tuum nulli imparem 
animum malo resume, nunc magna tibi 
virtute agendum est : Herculem irasci veta 


Si vivo, feci scelera ; si morior, tuli. 
purgare terras propero. iamdudum mihi 
monstrum impiiim saevumque et immite ac ferum 
oberrat; agedum dextra, conare aggredi 1281 

ingens opus, labore bis seno amplius. 
ignava cessas, fortis in pueros modo 
pavidasque matres ? arma nisi dantur mihi, 
aut omne Pindi Thracis excidam nemus 
Bacchique lucos et Cithaeronis iuga 
mecum cremabo, aut tota cum domibus suis 
dominisque tecta, cum deis templa omnibus 
Thebana supra corpus excipiam meum 
atque urbe versa condar, et, si fortibus 1 290 

leva pond us umeris moenia imuiissa incident 



Shall he give remission to liimself who to none 
other gave it ? As for my glorious deeds, at others' 
best I did them ; this alone is mine. Help me, 
father ; ■whether love move thee, or my sad fate, or 
the tarnished glory of my manhood. Bring me my 
weapons ; by my right hand let fate be vanquished 


Enough thy father's prayers have power to move, 
but let my weeping move thee, too. Up ! and with 
thy wonted force break through adversity. Now 
get back thy courage which was ne'er unequal to 
any hardship ; now must thou greatly play the man- - 
forbid Hercules to rage ! 


If I keep to life, I have wrought wrong ; if I die, 
have borne it. I am in haste to purge the earth. 
Long since a monstrous form, impious, savage, in- 
exorable, wild, has stalked before my eyes ; come, 
hand, grapple with this task greater than the last of 
all thy labours. Coward, dost thou shrink, brave 
against boys alone and trembling mothers .'' My 
arms, I say ! Unless they are given me, either I will 
cut down all the woods of Thraeian Pii;dus and 
Bacchus' groves and Cithaeron's ridges, and along 
with my own body I will burn them up ; or else all 
the dwellings of Thebes with their households and 
their masters, the temples with all their gods, I 
will pull down upon myself and lie buried 'neath a 
city's wreck ; and if, hurled on my shoulders, the 
wails shall fall with too light a weight, and if, buried 

I H 113 

septemque opertus non satis portis premar, 
onus omne media 2)arte quod mundi sedet 
dirimitque superos, in meum vertam caput. 


Reddo arma. 


Vox est digna genitore Herculis 
hoc en peremptus spiculo cecidit puer. 


Hoc luiio telum manibus immisit tuis 


Hoc nunc ego utar. 


Ecce quam miserum metu 
cor palpitaL pectusque sollicitum ferit. 


Aptata liarundo est. 


Ecce iam fades scelus 1300 

volens sciensque. 


Panda, quid fieri iubes ? 


beneath the seven gates, I be not crushed enough, 
then all the mass which lies at the centre of the 
universe and separates gods from men will I over- 
throw upon my head. 


I return thine arms. 


Thy words are worthy the sire of Hercules. See, 
slain by this shaft fell my boy. 


'Twas Juno shot the arrow by thy hand. 


'Tis I who shall use it now. 


Oh, how my woeful heart trembles with fear 
and smites on my anxious breast ! 


1 he shaft is notched. 


Ah, now wilt thou sin of thine own will and 


Speak out ; what wouldst have me do } 




Niliil rogamus ; noster in tuto est dolor — 
natum potes servare tu solus mihi, 
eripere nee tu. maximum evasi metum ; 
miserum haut potes me facere, felicem potes. 
sic statue, quidquid statuis, et causam tuam 
famamque in arto stare et aneipiti scias ; 
aut vivis aut occidis. banc aiiimam levem 
fessamque senio nee minus fessam malis 
in ore primo teneo. tam tarde patri 1310 

vitam dat aliquis ? non feram ultei'ius moram, 
letale ferro pectus impi-esso ^ induam ; 
hie, hie iacebit Herculis sani scelus. 


lam j)arce, genitor, parce, iam revoca manum. 
succumbe, virtus, perfer imperium patris. 
eat ad labores hie quoque Herculeos labor: 
vivamus. artus alleva afflictos solo, 
Theseu, parentis, dextra contactus pios 
scelerata refugit. 


Hanc manura amplector libens, 
hac nisus ibo, pectori hanc aegro admovens 1320 

pellam doloi'es. 


Quern locum profugus petam ? 
ubi me recondam quave tellure obruar ? 
quis Tanais aut quis Nilus aut quis Persica 
violentus unda Tigris aut Rhenus ferox 

1 impressum A : Richter laetare I ferro pectus impresso 




I make no pi'ayer ; for me woe is assured — thou 
alone canst preserve my son to me, but not even 
thou canst snatch him from me. I have passed my 
greatest fear; wretched thou canst not make me, 
but blest, thou canst. Decide, then, as thou wilt 
decide, but know that in so doing thy cause and 
fame stand at hazard and doubtful issue ; either thou 
livest or slayest me. This flitting soul, weary with 
age and no less with woe weary, I hold upon my 
very lips. So grudgingly does any man grant his 
father life ? [//e seizes a sword and sets its point to 
his breast.] I will brook no more delay: with the 
fatal steel thrust home will I pierce my breast ; here, 
here shall lie the crime of a sane Hercules I 


Now hold, father, hold, recall thy hand ! Strong 
soul of mine, yield, do a father's will ; add this task 
also to Hercules' toils^ — and live ! Theseus, lift thou 
from the ground my father's fainting limbs. My 
hands defiled shrink from that pious touch. 


But this hand I clasp joyfully; by its help I'll 
walk and, holding it close to my aching heart, banish 
my griefs. 


Whither shall I flee ? Where shall I hide me, or 
in what land bury me ? Wliat Tanais, what Nile, 
what Tigris, raging with Persian torrents, what war- 
like Rhine, or Tagus, turbid with the golden sands 


Tagusve Hibera turbidus gaza fluens 
abluere dextram ])oterit ? arctoum licet 
Maeotis in me gelida transfundat mare 
et tota Tethys per meas currat manus, 
haerebit ^Itum facinus. in quas impius 
terras recedes ? ortum an occasum petes? 1330 

ubique notus perdidi exilio locum, 
me refugit orbis, astra transversos agunt 
obliqua cursiis, ipse Titan Cerberum 
meliore vultu vidit. o fidum caput, 
Theseu, latebram quaere longinquam abditam ; 
quoniamque semper sceleris alieni arbiter 
amas nocentes, gratiam meritis refer 
vicemque nostris. redde me infeniis precor 
umbris reductum, meque subiectum tuis 
substitue vinclis ; ille me abscondet locus — 1340 
sed et ille novit, 


Nostra te tellus manet. 
illic sohitam caede Gradivus manum 
restituit armis : ilia te, Alcide, vocat, 
facere innoceutes terra quae superos solet. 



of Spain, can cleanse this hand? Though cold 
Maeotis should pour its northern sea upon me, 
though the whole ocean should stream along my 
hands, still will the deep stains cling. To what 
countries, man of sin, wilt thou betake thee ? The 
rising or the setting sun wilt seek ? Known in every 
land, I have lost place for exile. The world shrinks 
from my presence, the stars, moving askance, turn 
away their courses; Titan himself looked upon Cer- 
berus with kindlier fiice. O faithful friend, Theseus, 
seek a hiding-place for me, remote, obscure ; since, 
though witness of others' sins, thou dost ever love 
the sinners, grant me now grace and recompense 
for favours past. Take me back, I pray thee, and 
restore me to the nether shades ; put me in thy 
stead, loaded with thy chains ; that place will hide 
me — but it, too, knows me 1 

My land awaits thee. There Gradivus once 
cleansed his hands from blood ' and gave them back 
to war ; thee, Alcides, does that land call, land which 
can free the immortals from their stains.^ 

1 See Index s.v. " Mars." 

* If Athens could cleanse Mars from blood-guiltiness, she 
could do the same for Hercules. 




Agamkmnon. king of the Greek forces in the war against Troy. 
Pyrkhus, son of Achilles, one of the active leaders in the final 
events of the war. 
■^Ulysses, king of Ithaca, one of the most poioerful and crafty oj 
the Greek chiefs before Troy. 
Calchas, a priest and prophet among the Greeks. 
■•JTALTHyBlUS, a Greek messenger. 
* An Old Man, faithfid to Andromache. 
T^STYANAX, little son of Hector and Andromach", 
MIecuba, widow of Priam, one of the Trojan captives. 
Andromache, widow of Hector, a Trojan captive. 
Helena, wife of Menelaiis, king of Sparta, and afterwards of 
Paris, a prince of Troy ; th e excit ing cause of the Trojan 
PoLY'XENA, daughter of Hccuha and Priam (persona muta). 
Chorus of captive Trojan women. 

The Scene is laid on the seashore, with the smouldering 
ruins of Troy in the background. 

The Time is tlie day before the embarkation of the Greeks 
on their homeward journey. 



The long and toilsome siege of Troy is done. Her stately 
jialaces and massive walls have been overthrown and lie 
rhening the sky rvith their still smouldering ruins. Her 
ruic defenders are either slain or scattered, seeking other 
homes in distant lands. The victorious Greeks have 
gathered the rich spoils of Troy upon the shore, among 
these the Trojan women, who have suffered the usual fate 
of fvomen when a city is sacked. They await the lot 
which shall assign them to their Grecian lords and scatter 
them among the cities of their foes. All things are ready 
for the start. 

But now the ghost of AcMlles has risen from the tomb, 
and demanded that Polyxena be sacrificed to him before 
the Greeks shall be all-owed to sail away. And Calchas, 
also, bids that Aslyana.r be slain, for only thus can Greece 
he safe from any future Trojan war. And thus the 
Trojan captives, who have so long endured the pains of 
war, must suffer still this double tragedy. 



QvicvMQVE regno fidit et magna potens 
dominatur aula nee leves metuit deos 
animunique rebus eredulum laetis dedit, 
me videat et te, I'roia. non umquam tulit 
documenta fors maiora, quam fragili loco 
starent superbi. cohimen eversum occidit 
pollentis Asiae, caelituni egregius labor ; 
ad cuius arma venit et qui ^ frigid urn 
septena Tanain ora pandentem bibit 
et qui renatum primus excipiens diem 
tepidum rubenti Tigriu immiseet freto, 
et quae vagos vicina prospiciens Scythas 
ripam catervis Ponticani viduis ferit,^ 
excisa ferro est, Pergamum incubuit sibi. 
en alta muri decora congesti ' iacent 
tectis adustis ;* regiam flammae ambiunt 
omnisque late fumat Assaraci domus. 
non prohibet avidas flamma victoris majuis. 
diripitur ardens Troia. nee caelum patet 
undante fumo ; nube ceu densa obsitus 
ater favilla sqiialet Iliaca dies. 

A : Leo quae. ^ Leo deletes et qtne . . . ferit. 

A : Leo congestis. * A : Leo adusti. 



Whoever trusts in sovereignty and sti'ongly lords it 
in his princely hall, who fears not the fickle gods and 
has given up his trustful soul to joy, on me let him 
look and on thee, O Troy. Never did fortune give 
larger proof on how frail ground stand the proud. 
O'erthrown and fallen is mighty Asia's prop,^ famous 
work of gods ; she to whose assistance came he ^ who 
drinks chill Tanais, spreading its sevenfold mouths, 
he ^ who first greets the new-born day, where mingle 
the warm waters of Tigris with the ruddy sea, 
and she * who sees o'er her borders the wandering 
Scythians and with her virgin hordes scourges the 
Pontic shore — e'en she by the sword is razed, Per- 
gamum upon herself has fallen. See ! the towering 
glories of her high-piled wall lie low, her dwellings 
consumed by fire ; the flames lick round her palace, 
and all the house of Assaracus smokes on every side. 
The flames check not the victor's greedy hands ; 
Troy is plundered even while she burns. The very 
sky is hidden by billowing smoke ; the face of 
day, obscured as by an impenetrable cloud, is black 
and foul with the ashes of Ilium. With wrath still 

* Troy, whose walls were bnilt by Neptune and Apollo. 

* Rhesus. ■ Memnon. 

* Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons. 


stat avidus irae victor et lentum Ilium 
metitur oculis ac decern tandem ferus 
ignoscit annis ; horret atflictam quoque, 
victamque quamvis videat, haut credit sibi 
potuisse vinci. spolia populator rapit 
Dardania ; praedam m^ille non capiunt rates. 

Testor deorum numen adversum mihi, 
patriacque cineres teque rectorem Phrygiim 
quern Troia toto conditum regno teglt, SO 

tuosque manes quo stelit stante Ilium, 
et vos, meorum liberum magni greges, 
umbrae minores : quidquid adversi accidit, 
quaecumque Phoebas ore lymphato furens 
credi deo vetante pracdixit mala, 
prior Hecuba vidi gravida nee tacui metus 
et vana rates ante Cassandram fui. 
non cautus ignes Ithacus aut Ithaci comes 
nocturnus in vos sparsit aut fallax Sinon. 
mens ignis iste est, facibus ardetis meis. 40 

Sed quid ruinas urbis eversae gemis, 
vivax senectus ? respice infelix ad hos 
luctus recentes ; Troia iam vetus est malum, 
vidi execrandum regiae caedis nefas 
ipsasque ad aras (maius admissum fide) 
Aeacidis arma/ cum ferox, scaeva manu 
coma rcflectens regium torta caput, 
alto nefandum vulneri ferrum abdidit ; 

^ So Leo conjectures by icay of emending the impostible text : 
maius aduiissumst scelus Aeacis armis. 



unglutted the victor stands, eyeing long-lingering 
Ilium, and at last, spite of his savage hate, forgives 
the ten long years ; he quakes even at her ruins and, 
though he sees her overthrown, yet trusts not his 
own witness that she could have been overthrown. 
The plunderer hurries away the Dardan spoils, booty 
which a thousand ships cannot contain. 

28 I call to witness the divinity of the gods, hostile 
to me, the ashes of my country, thee,^ ruler of Phrygiaj 
whom, buried beneath thy wiiole realm, Troy covers, 
and the shades of thee - with whose standing Ilium 
stood, and you, great troops of children mine, ye lesser 
shades : whatever disaster has befallen us, whatever 
evils Phoebus' bride,^ raving with frenzied lips, 
foretold, though the god forbade that she should 
be believed, 1, Hecuba, big with child,* saw first, 
nor did I keep my fears unuttered, and I before 
Cassandra was a prophetess unheeded. 'Tis not the 
crafty Ithacan,^ nor the night-prowling comrade * of 
the Ithacan, who has scattered firebrands 'mongst 
you, nor the lying Siiion — mine is that fire, by my 
brands are you burning. 

*^ But why lamentest thou the downfall of a city 
overthrown, old age that clingest too long to life ? 
Think thou, ill-fated, on these recent griefs ; Troy's 
fall is now an ancient woe. I saw the accursed 
murder of the king and at the very altar (crime past 
belief) the arms of Aeacides,' when he, with left 
hand clutching the old man's hair, bent back the 
royal head and into the deep wound savagely thrust 
the impious steel ; and when with right good will 

^ Priam. * Hector's. ' Cassandra. 

* Paris. See Index a.v. " Paris " and " Hecuba." 

* Ulj'gses. 8 Diomedes. 

' Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, and remote descendaut of Aeacup. 



quod penitus actum cum recepisset libeus, 
ensis senili siccus e iugulo redit. 50 

placare quem non potuit a caede effera 
mortalis aevi cardinem extremum premens 
superique testes sceleris et quondam ^ sacrum 
regiii iacentis ? ille tot regum parens 
caret sepulcro Priamus et flamma indiget 
ardente Troia. non tamen superis sat est ; 
dominum ecce Priami nuribus et natis legens 
sortitur urna praedaque en vilis sequar, 
hie Hcctoris coniugia despondet sibi, 
liic optat Heleni coniugem, hie Antenoris ; 60 

nee dest tuos, Cassandra, qui tliahimos petat. 
mea sors llmetur, sola sum Dai.ais metus. 
Lamenta ccssant ? turba captivae mea, 
ferite palmis pcctora et planctus date 
et iusta Troiae facitc. iamdudum sonet 
f'atalis Ide, iudicis diri donius. 

Non rude vulgus lacrlmisque novum 
higere iubes : hoc continms 
egimus annis, ex quo tetigit 

Phrygius Graias hospes Amyclas 70 

secuitquc fretum pinus matri 
sacra Cyb( bie. 
deciens nivil.>::s camiit Ide, 
deciens nostris nu{|;ita rogis, 
et Sigeis trepidus canijiis 
decumas seeuit messor arisl is, 
ut nulla dies maerorc caret. 

^ So ^ : Zco qiK.du i:ii. 

> I'aris. '' I hid. 



he had plucked away the deep-driven sword, it came 
unwetted from the old man's throat. Ah, whose 
rage might not have been stayed from savage 
slaughter by one close drawing to the last period 
of mortal life, by the gods who beheld the crime, 
and by what was once the sanctuary of a fallen 
realm? Priam, that father of so many princes, lies 
unentombed and lacks a funeral torch, though Troy 
is burning. And yet the gods are not satisfied ; 
behold, the urn by lot is choosing lords for the 
matrons and maids of Priam's house, and I, a spoil 
unprized, shall follow some new lord. One promises 
himself the wife of Hector, one prays that Helenus' 
wife be his, and one, Antenor's ; nor is one wanting 
who seeks thy couch, Cassandra; mv lot is dreaded, 
I onh' am a terror to the Greeks. 

•* Do your wailings falter? O throng of mine, 
captives as ye are, smite breasts with palms, make loud 
laments, due rites for Troy perform. Long since 
'twere time for fatal Ida to resound, home of the 
ill-omened judge.^ 


No untrained company, stranger to tears, dost 
thou bid mourn ; this have we done for years un- 
ceasing, from when the Phrygian guest- touched at 
Grecian Amyclae, and the waves we;e cleft by tlie 
pine sacred to mother Cybele.' Ten times has Ida 
whitened with her snows, ten times been stripped 
for our funeral pyres, and in the Sigean fields ten 
harvests has the trembling reaper cut, since when no 
day has been without its grief. But now we have 

* i.e. the pines were %ut on Mount Ida, which was sacred to 

I I 129 


sed nova fletus causa ministrat. 

ite ad planctus^ miseramque leva, 

regina, nianum. vulgus dominam 80 

vile sequemur ; non indociles 

lugere sumus. 

Fidae casus nostri coniites, 
solvite crinem, per colla fluant 
maesta capilli tepido Troiae 
pulvere turpes. complete maiius, 102^ 

hoc ex Troia sumpsisse licet. ^ 103 

paret exertos turba lacertos ; 87 

veste remissa substringe sinus 
uteroque tenus pateant artus. 
cui coniugio pectora velas, 90 

captive pudor ? 
cingat tutiicas palla solutas, 
vacet ad crebri verbera planctus 
furibunda manus — placet hie habitus, 
j)lacet ; agnosco Troada turbam. 
iterum luctus redeant veteres, 
solitum flendi vincite morem ; 
Hectora flemus. 


Solvimus omnes laceriim multo 
funere crinem ; coma demissa est 100 

libera node sparsitque cinis 
fervidus ora. 

cadit ex umeris vestis apertis 104 

imumque tegit suflfulta latus ; 

^ Leo follows F, Haase in transferring II. 102^ and 103 to 
this place. 


new cause for weeping. On with your lamentation, 
and do thou, O queen, lift high thy wretched hand. 
We, the common throng, will follow our mistress; 
well trained in moumins are we. 

Trusty comrades of my fate, unbind your locks ; 
over your sorrowing shoulders let them flow, defiled 
with Troy's warm dust. Fill your hands — so much 
may we take from Troy. Let the band their bared 
arms make ready ; let down your robes and bind their 
folds ; down to the waist let your forms be bared. 
For what husband dost veil thy breast, O captive 
modesty ? Let your mantles gird up the loose-flowing 
tunics,' let mad hands be free for raining the blows 
of woe — 'tis well, this attire is well ; now do I recog- 
nize my Trojan band. Repeat once more your old 
lamentations ; exceed your wonted manner of weep- 
ing ; 'tis for Hector we weep. 


We have all loosed our locks at many a funeral 
torn ; our hair has fall'n free from its knot, and 
hot ashes have sprinkled our faces. From our 
bared shoulders our garments fall and cover only 
our loins with their folds. Now naked breasts invite 

* i.e. the outer robe (palla) is to be used as a girdle with 
which to hold up the loose tuuic, and so leave the hands 



iam nuda vocant pectora dextras ; 
nunc, nunc vires exprome, dolor. 
Rhoetea sonent litora planctu, 
habitansque cavis montibus Echo 
non, ut solita est, extrema brevis 
verba remittat, totos reddat 
Troiae gemitus. audiat omnis 
pontus et aether, saevite, manus, 
pulsu pectus tundite vasto, 
non sum solito contenta sono ; 
Hectora flemus. 


Tibi nostra ferit d extra lacertos 
umerosque ferit tibi sanguineos, 
tibi nostra caput dextera pulsat, 
tibi maternis ubera palmis 
laniata iacent. fluat et multo 
sanguine manet quamcumque tuo 
fiinere feci rupta cicatrix, 
columen patriae, mora fatorum, 
tu praesidium Phrygibus fessis, 
tu murus eras umerisque tuis 
stetit ilia deeem fulta per annos ; 
tecum cecidit summusque dies 
Hectoris idem patriaeque fuit. 

Vertite planctus ; Priamo vestros 
fundite fletus, satis Hector habet. 


Accipe, rector Phrygiae, planctus, 
accipe fletus, bis capte senex. 
nil Troia semel te rege tulit, 
bis pulsari Dardana Graio 


our hands; now, now, O Grief, put forth thy 
strength. Let the Rhoetean shores resound with 
our mourning, and let Echo, who dwells in the caves 
of the mountains, not, after her wont, curtly repeat 
our final words alone, but give back our full mourning 
for Troy. Let every sea hear us, and sky. Smite, 
bands, bruise breasts with mighty beating ; I am not 
content with the accustomed sound — 'tis for Hector 
we weep. 


For thee ^ my right hand smites my arms, and 
bleeding shoulders it smites for thee ; for thee my 
hand beats on my head, for thee my breasts with 
a mother's palms are mangled. Let flow and stream 
with blood, bleeding afresh, whatever wound I made 
at thy funeral. O prop of thy country, hindrance of 
fate, thou bulwark for weary Phrygians, thou wast 
our country's wall ; propped on thy shoulders, ten 
years she stood ; with thee she fell, and Hector's last 
day was his country's, too. 

^2* Turn now your mourning ; for Priam shed your 
tears ; Hector has enougli. 


Receive our mourning, O ruler of Phrygia ; re- 
ceive our tears, twice-captured old man. Naught has 
Troy suffered but once in thy reign ; nay, twice she 
endured the battering of her Dardanian walls by 
» Hector. 


moenia ferro bisque pharetras 

passa Herculeas. post elatos 

Hecubae partus regum^ue gregem 

postrema pater funera cludis 

magnoque lovi victima caesus 140 

Sigea premis litora truncus. 

Alio laerimas flectite vestras ; 
non est Priami miseranda mei 
mors, Iliades. felix Priamus 
dicite cunctae. liber manes 
vadit ad imos, nee fei*et umquam 
victa Graium cervice iugum ; 
non ille duos videt Atridas 
nee fallacem cernit Vlixen ; 

non Argoliei praeda triumph! 150 

subiecta feret colla tropaeis ; 
i\on adsuetas ad sceptra man us 
post terga dabit currusque scquens 
Agamemiionios aurea dextra 
vincula gestans latis fiet 
pompa Mycenis. 


Felix Priamus dicimus omnes. 
secum excedens sua regna tulit ; 
nunc Elysii nemoris tutis 

errat in umbris interque pias l60 

felix animas Hectora quaerit. 
felix Priamus, felix quisquis 
bello moriens omnia secum 
consumpta tulit. 

* First, when Hercules captured Troy with the aid of 
Telatnou during the reign of Laomedon, at which time little 


Grecian steel and twice ^ felt the arrows of Hercules, 
After Hecuba's sons were borne out to burial, after 
that troop of princes, thou, father, dost close the long 
funeral train and, slaughtered as a victim to mighty 
Jove,^ on Sigeum's strand headless thou liest. 

Otherwhere turn ye your tears ; not to be pitied 
is my Priam's death, ye Trojans. Cry ye all, " Happy 
Priam ! " Free fares he to the deep land of spirits, 
nor ever will bear on his conquered neck the yoke of 
the Grecians ; he does not look upon the two sons 
of Atreus, nor behold crafty Ulysses ; he will not, 
as booty of Argolic triumph, bend neck 'neath their 
trophies ; he will not yield hands to be bound which 
have Avielded the sceptre, nor, following the car of 
Agamemnon, wearing gold fetters, will he make 
show for wide-spreading Mycenae. 

" Happy Priam," say we all. With him, in da- 
parting, he has taken his kingdom ; now in the 
peaceful shades of Elysium's grove he wanders, and 
happy midst pious souls he seeks for his Hector. 
Happy Priam, happy whoe'er, dying in battle, has 
with his death made an end of all. 

Priam was set oa the throne ; and second, when in the hands 
of Philoctetes they were again used against Troy. 

* Priam was slain near the altar of Jupiter in the central 
courtyard of his own palace. 




O longa Danais semper in portu mora, 
seu petere bellum, petere seu patriam volunt ! 


Quae causa ratibus faciat et Danais moram, 
effare, reduces quis deus claudat vias. 


Pavet animuSj artus horridus quassat tremor, 
maioraveris monstra vix capiunt fidem — 
vidi ipse, vidi. summa lam Titan iuga 170 

stringebat ortu, vicerat noctem dies, 
cum subito caeco terra mugitu Tremens 
concussa totos traxit ex imo sinus ; 
movere silvae capita et excelsum nemus 
fragore vasto tonuit et lucus sacer; 
Idaea ruptis saxa ceciderunt iugis. 
nee terra solum tremuit ; et pontus suum 
adesse Achillen sensit ac stravit vada. 
tum scissa vallis aperit immensos specus 
et hiatus Erebi pervium ad superos iter 
tellure fracta praebet ac tumulura levat, 180 

emicuit ingens umbra Thessalici ducis, 
Threicia qualis arma proludens tuis 
iam, Troia, fatis stravit aut Neptunium 



[£n/er TALTHYBIUS.] GtC- «%.4>.e«^»* 

O delay, ever long for Greeks in harbour, whether 
they would seek war or seek fatherland ! 


Tell thou what cause delays the Grecian fleet, what 
god blocks the homeward paths. 


My spirit is afraid ; shivering horror makes my 
limbs to quake. Portents transcending truth scarce 
gain belief — but I saw it, with my owii eyes I saw. 
The sun was just grazing the hill-tops with his morn- 
ing rays and day had vanquished night, when sud- 
denly the earth with hidden rumblings rocked con- 
vulsive and brought to light her innermost recesses; 
the woods tossed their tops and the lofty forest and 
sacred grove resounded with huge crashing ; and 
rocks came falling from the shivered heights of 
ida.. Nor did the earth only tremble ; the sea, too, 
felt its own Achilles near and stilled its waters.' 
Then was the valley rent asunder, revealing caverns 
measureless, and yawning Erebus gave passage-way 
through the cleft earth to the world above and 
opened up the tomb.^ Forth leaped the mighty 
shade of the Thessalian chief, such shape as when, 
practising for thy fate, O Troy, he laid low the 
Thracian ^ arms, or smote the son ^ of Neptune with 

' i.e. the great tomb of Achiile?. 

* Achilles oa his way to Troy defeated Cisseus, father of 
n>-ciiba, who was leading Thracian auxiliaries to Troy. 
' See Index $,v. " Cycnus" (ii). 



cana nitentem perculit iuveuem coma, 

aut cum inter acies Marte violento furens 

corporibus amnes clusit et quaerens iter 

tardus cruento Xanthus erravit vado, 

aut cum superbo victor in curru stetit 

egitque habenas Hectorem et Troiam trahens. 

implevit omne litus irati sonus : 190 

"ite, ite inertes, manibus meis debitos 

auferte honores, solvite ingratas rates 

per nostra ituri maria. non parvo luit 

iras Achillis Graecia et magno luet. 

desponsa nostris cineribus Polyxene 

Pyrrhi manu mactetur et tumulum riget." 

haec fatus alta voce dimisit ^ diem 

repetensque Ditem mersus ingentem specum 

coeunte terra iunxit. immoti iaceiit 

tranquilla pelagi, ventus abiecit minas 200 

j)lacidumque fluctu murmurat leni mare, 

Tritonum ab alto cecinit hymenaeum chorus. 


Cum laeta pelago vela rediturus dares, 
excidit Achilles cuius unius manu 
impulsa Troia, quidquid accessit ^ morae 
illo rcmoto, dubia quo caderet stetit. 
velis licet quod petitur ac properes dare, 
sero es daturus ; iam suuni cuncti duces 
tulere pretium. quae minor merces potest 
tantae dari virtutis ? an meruit parum 210 

qui, fugere bellum iussus et longa sedens 

1 So Gronovius, with \j/ : Leo alta nocte di visit : Richter alta 
nocte demei^it. 
* So Richter: Leo adiecit, with w. 




white plumes gleaming; or when,, amidst the ranks 
raging in furious battle, he choked rivers with corpses, 
and Xanthus, seeking his way, wandered slowly 
along with bloody stream ; or when he stood in his 
proud car victorious, plying tht reins and dragging 
Hector — and Troy. The shout of the enraged hero 
filled all the shore : " Go, go, ye cowards, bear off 
the honours due to my spirit ; loose your ungrateful 
ships to sail away over my * seas. At no small price 
did Greece avert the wrath of Achilles, and at great 
cost shall she avert it. Let Polyxena, once pledged 
to me, be sacrificed to my dust by the hand of Pyrrhus 
and bedew my tomb." So speaking with deep voice, 
he bade farewell to day and, plunging down to Dis 
once more, closed the huge chasm as the earth was 
again united. The tranquil waters lie motionless, 
the wind has given up its threats, the calm sea 
murmurs with gentle waves, from the deep the band 
of Tritons has sounded the wedding hymn. 

[Enler pyrrhus and agamemnon.] 


When thou wast spreading joyful sails for thy 
return over the sea,. Achilles was quite forgot, who 
by his sole hand made Troy to totter, so that — 
whate'er delay was added after his death — she but 
stood wavering which way to fall. Though thou 
shouldst wish and haste to give him what he seeks, 
thou wouldst give too late ; already have all the 
chiefs made choice of their spoils. What meaner 
prize can be given to his great worth ? Or was his 
desert but slight who, bidden to shun the war and 
idly spend a long old age, surpassing the years of the 
^ Because be \>'a:» the son of the sea-goddess Thetis. 



aevum senecta ducere ac Pylii senis 

transcendere annos, exuit matris dolos 

falsasque vestesj fassus est armis virum ? 

inhospitali Telephus regno impotens, 

dum Mysiae ferocis introitus negat, 

rudem cruore regio dextram imbuit 

forteraque eandem sensit et mitem mauum. 

cecidere Thebae, vidit Eetion capi 

sua regna victus ; clade subversa est pari £20 

apposita celso parva Lyrnesos iugo, 

captaque tellus nobilis Briseide 

et causa litis regibus Chryse iacet 

et nota fama Tenedos et quae pascuo 

fecunda pingui Thracios nutrit greges 

Scyros fretumque Lesbos Aegaeum sccaiis 

et cara Phoebo Cilia ; quid quas alluit 

veniis Caycus gurgitem attollens aquis ? 

Haec tanta clades gentium ac tantus pavor, 
sparsae tot urbes turbinis vasti modo 230 

alterius esset gloria ac summum decus ; 
iter est Achillis ; sic mens venit pater 
et tanta gessit bella, dum bellum parat. 
ut alia sileam merita^ non unus satis 
Hector fuisset? Ilium vicit pater, 
vos diruistis. inclitas laudes iuvat 
et facta magni clara genitoris sequi. 
iacuit peremptus Hector ante oculos patris 
patruique Memnon, cuius ob luctum parens 
pallente maestum protulit vultu diem ; 240 

suique victor operis exemplum horruit 
didicitque Achilles et dea natos mori. 
tum saeva Amazon ultimus cecidit metus. 



ancient Pylian/ put off his mother's wiles and those 
disguising garments, confessing himself a man by his 
choice of arms ? ^ When Telephus, unbridled ruler 
of inhospitable realm, refused him passage through 
warlike Mysia, he with his royal blood first dyed that 
inexperienced hand, and found that same hand brave 
and merciful.^ Thebes fell and conquered Eetion 
saw his kingdom taken ; by a like disaster little 
Lyrnesos, perched on a high hill, was overthrown, 
and the land famous for Briseis' capture ; Chryse, 
too, lies low, cause of strife for kings, and Tenedos, 
well known in fame, and fertile Scyros, which on its 
rich pasturage feeds-the Thracian flocks, and Lesbos, 
cleaving in twain the Aegean sea, and Cilia, sacred to 
Phoebus ; and what of the lands which the Caycus 
washes, his waters swollen by the floods of spring ? 

229 I'his great overthrow of nations, this witlespread 
terror, all these cities wrecked as by a tornado's blast, 
to another could have been glory and the height ot 
fame ; to Achilles they were but deeds upon the 
way. 'Twas thus my father came, and so great wars 
he waged while but preparing Avar. Though I speak 
not of other merits, would not Hector alone have 
been enough ? My father conquered Ilium ; you 
have plundered it. Proud am I to rehearse jny gr^^f 
sire's illnstr^nns praisp«; and crlnnryis deeffsT H ector 
lies low, slain before his father's eyes, and Memnon 
before his uncle's, in sorrow for whose death his 
mother * with wan face ushered in a mournful day, 
while the victor shuddered at the lesson of his own 
work, and Achilles learned that even sons of goddesses 
can die. Then fell the fierce Amazon,^ our latest 

* Nestor. * See Index s.r. '"Achilles." 

* See "Telephus." * Aurora, goddess of the dawn. 
' t:'eQthesilea, queen of the Amuzous. 


debes Achilli, merita si digne aestimas, 
et si ex Mycenis virginem atque Argis petat. 
dubitatur et iam placita nunc subito improbas 
Priamique natam Pelei nato ferum 
mactare credis ? at tuam natam parens 
Helenae immolasti. solita iam et facta expeto. 


luvenile vitium est regere non posse impetum ; 250 
aetatis alios fervor hie primus rapit, 
Pyrrhum paternus. spiritus quondam truces 
minasque tumidi lentus Aeacidae tuli. 
quo plura possis, plura patienter feras. 

Quid caede dira nobiles clari ducis 
aspergis umbras ? noscere hoc primum decet, 
quid facere victor debeat, victus pati. 
violenta nemo imperia continuit diu, 
moderata durant ; quoque Fortuna altius 
evexit ac levavit humanas opes, 2C0 

hoc se magis supprimere felicem decet 
variosque casus treraere metuentem deos 
nimium faventes. magna momento obrui 
vincendo didici. Troia nos tumidos facit 
nimium ac feroces ? stamus hoc Danai loco, 
unde ilia cecidit. fateor, aliquando impotens 
regno ac superbus altius memet tuli ; 
sed fregit illos spiritus haec quae dare 
potuisset aliis causa, Fortunae favor, 
tu me superbum, Priame, tu timidum facis 270 



dread. Thou art Achilles' debtor, if rightly thou 
estimate his worth, even if he should ask a maiden 
from Mvcenae and from Argos.^ Dost hesitate and 
now of a sudden deem wrong what has already been 
approved,^ and count it cruel to sacrifice Priam's 
daughter to Peleus' son ? And yet thine own daughter 
for Helen's sake thou, her sire, didst immolaie. I 
claim but what is already use and precedent. 


Ungovemed violence is a fault of youth ; in the 
case of others 'tis the first fervour of their years that 
sweeps them on, but with Pvrrhus 'tis his father's 
heat. The blustering airs and threats of arrogant 
Aeacides I once bore unmoved. The greater the 
might, the more should be the patience to endure. 

255 Why Mrith cruel bloodshed dost thou besmirch 
the noble shade of an illustrious chief.'' This 'twere 
fitting first to learn, what the victor ought to do, 
the vanquished, suffer. Ungovemed power no one 
can long retain ; controlled, it lasts ; and the higher 
Fortune has raised and exalted the might of man, the 
more does it become him to be modest in prosperity, to 
tremble at shifting circumstance, and to fear the gods 
when they are overkind. iThat greatness can be in 
a moment overthrown I have learned by conquering. 
Does Troy make us too arrogant and bold .'' We 
Greeks are standing in the place whence she has 
fallen. In the past, I grant, I have been headstrong in 
government ai'.d borne myself too haughtily ; but such 
pride has been broken by that cause which could 
have produced it in another, e'en Fortune's favour. 
Thou, Priam, mak'st me proud — and fearful, too. 

' i.e. if he should ask for a Grecian maid, even a daughter 
of Agamemnon. 

' Probably a covert allusion to the sacrifice of Iphigenia. 



Ego esse quicquam sceptra nisi vauo putern 
fulgore tectum noraen et falso comavu 
vinclo deeentem ? casus haec rapiet brevis, 
nee mille forsan ratibus aut annis decern : 
non omnibus fortuna tarn lenta imminet.* 
equidem fatebor (pace dixisse hoc tua, 
Argiva tellus, liceat) affligi Plirygas 
vineique volui ; ruere et aequari solo^ 
utinara arcuissem. sed regi frenis nequit 
et ira et ardens hostis et victoria 280 

commissa nocti. quidquid indignum aut ferum 
cuiquam videri potuit, hoc fecit dolor 
tenebraeque, per quas ipse se irritat furor, 
gladiusque felix, cuius infecti semel 
vecors libido est. quidquid eversae potest 
superesse Troiae, maneat ; exactum satis 
poenarum et ultra est, regia ut virgo occidat 
tumuloque donum detur et cineres riget 
et facinus atrox caedis ut thalamos vocent, 
non patiar. in me culpa cunctorum redit ; 29O 

qui non vetat peccare, cum possit, iubet. 


NuUumne Achillis praemium manes ferent ? 


Ferent, et ilium laudibus cuncti canent 
magnumque terrae nomen ignotae audient. 
quod si levatur sanguine infuso cinis, 
opima Phrygii coUa caedantur greges 
fluatque nulli flebilis matri cruor. 
quis iste mos est ? quando in inferias homo est 

^ Leo deletes this line. 



-'^ Should I count sovereignty anything but a name 
bedecked with empty glamour, a brow adorned with 
a King coronet? Brief chance will plunder these, 
niiyhap without the aid of a thousand ships or ten 
long years : Fate hangs not over all so long. For 
my part, I will confess — thy pardon for saying it, O 
Argive land ! — I wished to see the Phrygians beaten 
down and conquered ; but overthrown and razed to 
the ground — would that I could have spared them 
that. But Miath, the fiery foeman, victory given to 
night's charge, these cannot be kept in hand. All 
that any might have deemed unworthy in me or 
brutal, this resentment wrought and darkness, 
whereby fury is spurred to greater fury, and the 
victorious sword, whose blood-lust, when once stained 
with blood, is madness. All that can survive of 
ruined Troy let it survive ; enough and more of 
punishment has been exacted. That a royal maid 
should fall, be offered to a tomb, should water the 
ashes of the dead, and that men should call foul 
murder marriage, I will not permit. The blame 
of all comes back on me ; he who, when he may, 
forbids not sin, commands it. 


And shall Achilles' ghost gain no reward } 


It shall ; all shall sing his praises and unknown 
lands shall hear his mighty name. But if his dust 
can be appeased only by on-poured blood, let 
Phrygian cattle, rich spoil, be slain, and let blood 
flow which will cause no mother's tears. Wliat 
custom this } When was a human victim offered up 

I K 145 


impensus hominis ? detrahe invidiam tuo 
odiumque patri, quem coli poena lubes. SOO 

O tumide, rerum dum secundarum status 
extoUit animos, timide cum increpuit metus, 
regum tyranne ! iamne flammatum geris 
amore subito ^ pectus ac veneris novae ? 
solusne totiens spolia de nobis feres ? 
hac dextra Achilli victimam reddam suam. 
quam si negas retinesque^ maiorem dabo 
dignamque quam det Pyrrhus ; et niniium diu 
a caede nostra regia cessat manus 
paremque poscit Priamus. 


Haud equidem nego 310 
hoc esse Pyrrhi maximum in bello decus, 
saevo peremptus ense quod Priamus iacet, 
supplex paternus. 


Supplices nostri patris 
hostesque eosdem novimus. Priamus tamen 
praesens rogavit ; tu gravi pavidus metu, 
nee ad rogandum fortis, Aiaci preces 
Ithacoque mandas clausus atque hostem tremens. 


At non timebat tunc tuus, fateor, parens, 
interque caedes Graeciae atque ustas rates 

* So Leo, with u: soli to ^; Leo conjectures amoris igne: 
Richter amoris aestu : Feiper amore nuptae. 



in honour of human dead ? Save thy father frora 
scorn and hate, whom thou art bidding us honour by 
a maiden's death. 


O thou swollen with pride so long as prosperity 
exalts thy soul, but faint of heart when the alarms 
of war resound, tyrant of kings ! Is now thy heart 
inflamed with sudden love and of a new mistress ? 
Art thou alone so often to bear off our spoils ? With 
this right hand will I give to Achilles the victim due. 
If thou dost refuse and keep her from me, a greater 
will I give, worthy the gift of Pyrrhus ; too long 
has my hand refrained from killing kings, and Prianj 
claims his peer. 


Nay, I deny not that 'tis Pyrrhus' most glorious 
deed of war that Priam lies slain by thy brutal sword, 
and he thy father's suppliant.^ 


Yea, I know my father's suppliants — ^and enemies, 
too. And yet in my father's presence Priam prayed ; 
thou, quaking with o'ermastering fear, not brave 
enough to make thy own plea, didst delegate thy 
prayers to Ajax and the Ithacan, staying hid in thy 
tent and trembling at thy foe.^ 


But no fear then, I grant it, had thy father, and 
mid Grecian carnage and their blazing ships idly he 

* Priam sought out Achilles to ransom Hector's body. 

* This scene is described in Homer, Ilicui, bk. IX. 


segnis iacebat belli et armorum immemor, S20 

levi canoram verberans plectro chelyn. 


Tunc magnus Hector, arma contemnens tua, 
cantus Achillis timuit et tanto in metu 
navalibus.pax alta Thessalicis fuit. 


Nempe isdem in istis Thessalis navalibus 
pax alta rursus Hectoris patri fuit. 


Est regis alti spiritum regi dare. 


Cur dextra regi spiritum eripuit tua ? 


Mortem misericors saepe pro vita dabit. 


Et nunc misericors virginem busto petis ? 330 


lamne immolari virgines credis nefas ? 


Praeferre patriam liberis regem decet. 


lay, thoughtless of war and arms, strumming with 
dainty quill on tuneful lyre. 


Then mighty Hector, though he scorned thy 
arms, still feared Achilles' songs, and midst so great 
general dread deep peace lay on the ship-camp of 


Yes, and in that same ship-camp of Thessaly deep 
peace, again, did Hector's father find. 


*Tis a high, a kingly act to give life to a king. 


Why then from a king did thy right hand take 
life > 


The merciful will oft give death instead of life. 


And is it now in mercy thou seekest a maiden 
for the tomb ? 


So nofP thou deemst the sacrifice of maids a crime ? 


To put country before children befits a king. 

* i.e. in the camp of Achilles' Thessalians, who dwelt in huts 
by their ships drawn up on the shore. 




Lex nulla capto parcit aut poenam impedit. 


Quod non vetat lex, hoc vetat fieri pudor. 


Quodcumque libuit facere victori licet. 


Minimum decet libere cui multum licet. 


His ista iactas, quos decem annorum gravi 
regno subactos Pyrrhus exsolvit iugo ? 


Hos Scyrus animos — ? 


Scelere quae fratrum caret. 


Iiiclusa fluctu — 


Nempe cognati maris. 84-0 

Atrei et Thyestae nobilem novi domum. 



No law spares tlie captive or stays the penalty. 


What law forbids not, shame forbids be done, i 


Whate'er he will, 'tis the victor's right to do. 


Least should he will who has much right. ' 


Vy Barest fling such words to those whom, over- 
whelmed beneath thj heavy sway for ten long years, 
Pyrrhus freed from the yoke ? 


Does Scyrus give such airs ? 


'Tis free from the crime of brothers. * 


Hemmed by the waves— 


Yes, of a kindred sea.^ Atreus and Thyestes — 
well do 1 know their noble house. 

^ A reference to Atreus and Thyestes, father and uncle of 
Agamemnon, who committed all crimes against each other. 
* Explained la I. 346 ; and 8«e 1. 193 and note 




Eix virginis concepte furtivo stupro 
5t ex Achilla nate, sed nondum viro— 


Illo ex Achille, genere qui mundum suo 
sparsus per omne caelitum regnum tenet: 
riietide aequor, umbras Aeaco, caelum love. 


Illo ex Achille, qui manu Paridis iacet. 


Quem nee deorum commiiius quisquam petit. 


Comj)escere equidem verba et audacem malo 
poteram domare ; sed meus captis quoque 350 

scit parcere ensis. patius interpres deum 
Calchas vocetur. fata si poscent, dabo. 

Tu qui Pelasgae vincla solvisti rati 
morasque bellis, arte qui reseras polum, 
cui viscerum secreta, cui mundi fragor 
et Stella longa semitam flamma trahens 
dant signa fati, cuius ingenti milii 
mercede constant era : quid iubcat deus 
effare, Calchas, nosque consilio rege. 




Thou son of a maiden's secret shame ^ and of 
Achilles, but scarce yet a man — 


Of that Achilles who by right of lineage extendsj 
throughout the realm of the immortals and claims 
*^he universe : the sea through Thetis, through 
\eacus the shades, the heavens through Jove. 


Of that Achilles who lies slain by Paris' hand. 

Whom e'en a god would not contend with face to 


I could check thy words and curb thy reckless- 
ness by punishment ; but my sword knows how to 
spare e'en captives. Rather, let Calchas, the inter- 
preter of the gods, be called. If the f*ites demand, 
I will give' her up. 

\^Enter calchas.] 

353 Xhou who didst free the Pelasgian fleet from 
bonds, and didst end the wars' delays, who by thy 
art dost unlock the sky, to whom the entrails' secrets, 
to whom the crashing heavens and the star with its 
long, flaming trail disclose the fates, thou whose 
utterances ever cost me dear : what is God's will, 
declare, O Calchas, and by thy wisdom guide us. 

* See ludex t.v. " Pyrrhus." 



Dant fata Danais quo solent pretio viam. S60 

mactanda virgo est Thessali busto ducis; 
sed quo iugari Thessalae cultu solent 
lonidesve vel Myceiiaeae nurus, 
Pyrrlms parent! coniugem tradat suo, 
sic rite dabitur. non tamen nostras tenet 
haec una puppes causa ; nobilior tuo, 
Pol3'xenej cruore debetur cruor. 
quern fata quaerunt, turre de summa cailat 
Priami nepos Hectoreus et letum oppetat. 
turn mille velis impleat classis freta. 870 


Verum est an timidos fabula decipit 
umbras corporibus vivere conditis, 
cum coniunx oculis imposuit maiium 
supremusque dies solibus obstitit 
et tristis cineres urna cohercuit ? 
non prodest animam tradere fuueri, 
sed restat miseris vivere longius ? 
an toti morimur nullaque pars manet 
nostri, cum profugo s])iritus halitu 
immixtus nebulis cessit in aera 380 

et nudum tetigit subdita fax latus ? 

Quidquid s )! oriens, quidquid et occidens 
novit, caeruleis Oceanus fretis 
quidquid bis veniens ct fugiens lavat, 
aetas Pegaseo corripiet gradu. 
quo bis sena volant sidera turbine, 
quo cursu properat volvere saecula 
astrorum dominus^ quo properat mode 
obliquis Hecate currere flexibus ; 


'Tis at the accustomed price fate grants the Danai 
their voyage. A maiden must be sacrificed on 
the Thessalian chieftain's tomb; but in the garb in 
which Thessalian brides are wed, or Ionian or My- 
cenaean, let Pyrrhus lead his father's bride to him. 
'Tis so she shall be given duly. But it is not this 
cause alone which delays our ships ; blood nobler 
than thy blood, Polyxena, is due. Whom the fates 
seek, from the high watch-tower let him fall, Priam's 
grandson. Hector's son, and let him perish there. 
Then with its thousand sails may the fleet fill the 


Is it true, or does the Ude cheat timid souls, 
that spirits live on when bodies have been buried, 
when the wife has closed her husband's eyes, when 
the last day has blotted out the sun, when the 
mournful urn holds fast our dust ? Profits it not to 
give up the soul to death, but remains it for wretched 
mortals to live still longer.^ Or do we wholly die ■ 
and does no part of us remain, when with the fleeting 
breath the spirit, mingling with vapours, has passed 
into the air, and the lighted fire has touched the 
naked bod\- ? 

3^2 All that the rising sun and all that the setting 
knows, all that the ocean laves -with its blue waters, 
twice ebbing and twice flowing, time with the psLce 
of Pegasus shall gather in. With such whirlwind 
speed as the twelve signs fly along, with such swift 
course as the lord * of stars hurries on the centuries, 
and in such wise as Hecate hastens along iier slanting 

^ The sun. 


hoc omiies petimus fata nee amplius, SpO 

iuratos superis qui tetigit lacus, 
usquam est. ut calidis fumus ab ignibus 
vanescit, spatium per breve sordidus, 
ut nubcSj gravidas quas modo vidimus, 
arctoi Boreae dissicit impetus ; 
sic hie, quo regimur, spiritus effluet. 
post mortem nihil est ipsaque mors nihil, 
velocis spatii meta novissima. 
spem ponant avidi, solliciti raetum ; 
tempus nos avidum devorat et chaos. 400 

mors indi vidua est^ noxia corpori 
nee parcens animae. Taenara et aspero 
regnum sub domino limen et obsidens 
custos non facili Cerberus ostio 
rumores vacui verbaque inania . ■ 

et par sollicito fabula somnio. 
quaeris quo iaceas post obitum loco.^ 
quo non nata iacent. 


Quid, raaesta Phrygiae turba, laceratis comas 
miserumque tunsae pectus efFuso genas 410i| 

fletu rigatis ? levia perpessae sumus, 
si flenda patimur. Ilium vobis modo, 
mihi cecidit olim, cum ferus curru incito 
mea membra raperet et gravi gemeret sono 
Peliacus axis j)ondere Hectoreo tremens. 

» The Styx. 

* individua is used here la evident reminiscence of Cicero, 



ways, so do we all seek fate, and nevermore does 
he exist at all who has reached the pool ^ whereby 
the high gods swear. As smoke from burning fires 
vanishes, staining the air for one brief moment ; as 
clouds, which but now we saw lowering, are scattered 
by the cold blasts of Boreas, so shall this spirit which 
rules our bodies flow away. There is nothing after^ 
death, and death itself is nothing, the final goal of a 
course full swiftly run. Let the eager give up their 
hopes ; their fears, the anxious ; greedy time and 
chaos engulf us altogether. Death is a something 
that admits no cleavage,* destructive to the body 
and unsparing of the soul. Taenarus and the cruel 
tyrant's ^ kingdom and Cerberus, guarding the portal 
of no easy passage — all are but idle rumours, empty 
words, a tale light as a troubled dream. Dost ask 
where thou shalt lie when death has claimed thee '' 
Where they lie who Avere never born. 

[Enter andromache, leading her little son, astyanax, 
and accompanied hy an aged man-servant.^ 


Ye Phrygian women, mournful band, why do 
you tear your hair, beat on your wretched breasts, 
and water your cheeks with weeping unrestrained ? 
Trivial woes hav§ we endured if our sufferings can 
be told by tears. Ilium has fallen but now for you ; 
for me she fell long since, when the cruel foeman 
behind his swift car dragged limbs — my own, and 
his axle-tree, on Pelion hewed, groaned loud, strain- 
ing beneath Hector's weight. On that day over- 

de Pinibus. T. VI. 17 : atomos . . .id est corpora individua 
•propter sdiditatevi. 
» Pluto, lord of death. 


tunc obruta atque eversa quodcuraque accidit 
terpens malis rigensque sine sensu fero. 
iam erepta Danais coniugem sequerer meura, 
nisi hie tenexet. hie meos animos domat 
morique prohibet ; cogit hie aliquid deos 420 

adhuc rogare, tempus aeriimnae addidit. 
hie mihi malorum maximum fructum abstulit, 
nihil timere. prosperis rebus locus 
ereptus omnis, dira qua veniant habent, 
miserrimum est timere, cum speres nihil, 


Quis te repens comraovit afflictam metus ? 


Exoritur aliquod maius ex magno malum, 
nondum ruentis Ilii fatum stetit. 


Et quas reperiet, ut velit, clades deus ? 


Stygis profundae claustra et obscftri specus 430 
laxantur et, ue desit eversis metus, 
hostes ab imo conditi Dite exeunt, 
solisne retro pervium est Danais iter ? 
eerte aequa mors est ; turbat atque agitat Phrygas 
communis iste terror ; hie proprie meum 
exterret animum noctis horrendae sopor. 


whelmed and ruined, whatever has happened since 
I bear, benumbed with woe, stony, insensible. And 
now, escaping the Greeks, I should follow mj husband, 
if this child held me not. He tames my spirit and 
prevents my death ; he forces me still to ask some- 
thing of the gods, has prolonged my suffering. He^ 
has robbed me of tlie richest fruit of sorrows, thej 
scorn of fear. All chance of happiness has been 
snatched away from me ; calamity has still a door of 
entrance. Most wretched 'tis to fear when you can 
hope fur naught. 


What sudden terror has stirred thy stricken soul } 


Some greater woe from woe already great arises. 
The fate of falling Ilium is not yet stayed. 

What new disasters, though he wish, will the god 


The bars of deep Styx and its darksome caves 
are opened and, lest terror be wanting to our over- 
throw, our buried foemen come forth from lowest 
Dis. To the Greeks only is a backward passage 
given ? Death surely is impartial. That terror ^ 
disturbs and alarms all Phrygians alike ; but this 
vision^of dread night doth terrify my soul alone. 

^ Achillea' ghust. * i.e. Hector's ghost. 




Quae visa portas ? efFer in medium metus. 


Partes fere nox alma transierat duas 
clarumque septem verterant stellae iugum ; 
ignota tandem venit afflictae quies 440 

brevisque fessis somnus obrepsit genis, 
si somnus ille est mentis attonitae stupor ; 
cum subito nostros Hector ante oculos stetit, 
non quails ultro bella in Argivos ferens 
Graias petebat facibus Idaeis rates, 
nee caede raulta qualis in Danaos furens 
vera ex Achille spolia simulate tulit, 
non ille vultus flammeum intendens iubar, 
sed fessus ac deiectus et fletu gravis 
similisque nostro, squalida obtectus coma. 450 

iuvat tamen vidisse. tum quassans caput : 
" dispelle somnos " inquit " et natura eripe, 
o fida coniunx ; lateat, haec una est salus. 
omitte fletus 1 Troia quod cecidit gemis ? 
utinam iaceret tota. festina, amove 
quocumque nostrae parvulam stirpem domus." 
mihi gelidus horror ac tremor somnum expulit, 
oculosque nunc hue pavida, nunc illuc ferens 
oblita nati misera quaesivi Hectorem ; 
fallax per ipsos umbra complexus abit. 460 

O nate, raagni certa progenies patris, 
spes una Phrygibus, unica afflictae domus, 



What vision hast thou to tell? Speak out thy 
fears before us alL 


Two p>ortions of her course had kindly night 
well-nigh passed, and the seven stars had turned 
their shining car ; at last long unfamiliar calm came 
to mv troubled heart, and a brief slumber stole o'er 
my weary cheeks — if, indeed, the stupor of a mind 
all dazed be slumber — when suddenly Hector stood 
before my eyes, not in such guise as when, forcing 
the fight against the Argives, he attacked the Grecian 
ships with torches from Ida's pines, not as when he 
raged in copious slaughter against the Danai and bore 
off true spoils from a feigned Achilles^ j not such his 
face, blazing with battle light, but weary, downcast, J 
heavy with weeping, like my own, covered with 
matted locks. Even so, 'twas joy to have looked 
upon him. Then, shaking his head, he said : " Rouse 
thee from slumber and save our son, O faithful wife ! 
hide him ; 'tis the only hope of safety. Away with 
tears ! Dost grieve because Troy has fallen ? Would 
she were fallen utterly ! ' Make haste, remove to 
any place soever the little scion of our house." Cold 
horror and trembling banished sleep ; quaking with 
terror, I turned my eyes now here, now there, taking 
no thought of my son, and piteously seeking Hector ; 
but from my very arms his cheating ghost was gone. 

*'^ O son, true offspring of a mighty sire, sole hope 
of Phrygians, sole comfort of our stricken house, 

* Patr clus, who was fighting in the borrowed armour of 
his friend, Achilles. 

* He intimatea that there is a deeper de(>th of woe yet to 

I L I6l 


veterisque suboles sanguinis nimium incliti 

nimiumque patri similis ; hos vultus meus 

nabebat Hector, talis incessu fuit 

habituque talis, sic tulit fortes manus, 

sic celsus umeris, fronte sic torva minax 

cervice fusam dissipans iacta comam. 

o nate sero Phrjgibus, o matri cito, 

eritne tempus illud ac felix dies 470 

quo Troici defensor et vindex soli 

rediviva ponas Pergama et sparsos fuga 

cives reducas, nomen et patriae suura 

Phrygibusque reddas ? sed mei fati memor 

tam magna tinieo vota — quod captis sat est, 


Heu me, quis locus fidus meo 
erit timori quave te sede occulam ? 
arx ilia pollens opibus et muris deum, 
gentes per on)nes clara et invidiae gravis, 
nunc pulvis altus, strata sunt flamma omnia 4S0 

superestque vasta ex urbe ne tantum quidem, 
quo lateat infans. quern locum fraudi legam ? 
est tumulus ingens coniugis cari sacer, 
vercndus hosti, mole quern immensa parens 
opibusque magnis struxit, in luctus suos 
rex non avarus. optime credam patri. 
sudor per artus frigidus totos cadit; 
omen tremesco misera feralis loci. 48S 


Miser occupet praesidia, securus legat.* 497 


Quid quod latere sine metu magno nequit, 496 

ne prodat aliquis ? 

> The order of II. 4S8-49S is Leo's: Richter follows this, 
except that he reads I. 491 after 495, 



! child of an ancient, too illustrious line, too like thy 
I father, thou ; such features my Hector had, such was 

* he in gait, such in bearing; so carried he his brave 

• hands, so bore he his shoulders high, such august, 
. cuiimianding look had he as with head thrown 
i proudly back he tossed his flowing locks. O son, 
I born too late for the Phrygians, too soon for thy 
< mother, will that time ever come and that happy day 
I when, as defender and avenger of the Trojan land, 
J thou shalt establish Pergama restored, bring back its 
i scattered citizens from flight, and give again their 

name to fatherland and Phrygians ? But, remember- 
ing my own lot, I shrink from such proud prayers ; 
this is enough for captives — may we but live ! 

*^' Ah me, what place will be faithful to my fears ? 
where shall I hide thee ? That citadel, once rich in 
treasure and its god-built walls, amongst all nations 
famed and envied, is now deep dust, wasted utterly 
by fire ; and of that huge city not even enough is 
left wherein a child may hide. What place shall 
I choose to cheat them.'' There is my dear lord's 
great tomb, hallowed, awe-inspiring to the foe, which 
of huge bulk and at mighty cost his father reared, 
a prince not niggardly in his grief. To his sire shall 
I best entrust the child. Cold sweat streams down 
all my limbs. Ah me ! I shudder at the omen of 
the place of death. 

In wretchedness, seize any refuge ; in safety, 


What that he cannot hide without great danger 
of betrayal ? 





Amove testes doli, 4-92 


Si quaeret hostis7 


Vrbe in eversa pei it ; 493 

haec causa multos una ab interitu arcuit, 489 

credi perisse. 


Vix spei quicquam est super ; 490 

grave pondus ilium magna nobilitas premit, 491 

quid proderit latuisse redituro in manus ? 4y4 


Victor feroces imj)etus primos habet. 495 


Quis te locus, quae regio seducta, invia, 498 

tuto reponet ? quis feret trepidis opem ? 
quis proteget ? qui semper, etiam nunc tuos, 500 
Hector, tuere ; coniugis furtum piae 
serva et fideli cinere victurum excipe. 
succede tumulo, nate — quid retro fugis 
tutasque latebras spernis ? agnosco indolem ; 
pudet timere. spiritus magnos fuga 
animosque veteres, sume quos casus dedit. 
en intuere, turba quae simus super — 



Have none to see thy guile, 


If the foe inquire ? 


He perished in the city's downfall ; this cause 
alone has saved many from destruction — the belief 
that they have perished. 


Scant hope is left; the crushing weight of his 
noble birth lies heavy on him. What will it profit him 
to have hidden, when he must fall into their hands ? 


The victor's first onslaughts are the deadliest. 


What place, what spot, remote and inaccessible, 
will keep thee safe? Who will bring help in our 
sore need ? Who will protect ? O Hector, who didst 
always shield thine own, shield them even now; guard 
thou a wife's pious theft and to thy faithful ashes take 
him to live again. Enter the tomb, my son — why dost 
thou shrii.k back and reject this safe hiding-place ? 
I recognize thy breeding ; thou art ashamed of fear. 
But put away thy high spirit and old-time courage ; 
put on such spirit as misfortune grants. See how small 


tumulus^ puer, captiva ; cedendum est malis. 
sanctas parentis conditi sedes age 
aude subire. fata si miseros iuvant, 510 

habes salutem ; fata si vitam negant, 
habes sepulclirum. 


Claustra commissum tegunt ; 
quem ne tuus producat in medium timor, 
procul hinc recede teque diversam amove. 


Levius solet timere, qui propius timet ; 
sed, si placet, referamus hinc alio pedem. 


Cohibe parumper ora questusque opprime ; 
gressus nefandos dux Cephallanum admovet. 


Dehisce tellus tuque, coniunx, ultimo 
specu revulsam scinde tellurem et Stygis 520 

sinu profundo conde depositura meum. 
adest Vlixes, et quidem dubio gradu 
vultuque ; nectit pectore astus callidos. 


company of us remains — a tomb, a child, a captive 
w,>man ; we must yield to ills. Come, boldly enter 
the sacred home of thy buried father. If the fates 
befriend the wretched, thou hast a safe retreat ; if 
the fates deny thee life, thou hast a tomb. 

[astvanax enters the tomb and the gates are closed 
and barred behind A»;«.] 


The bars protect their charge ; and, that thy fear 
may not hale him forth, retire thou far from here 
and withdraw thyself apart. 


Who fears from near at hand, fears often less ; 
but if thou thinkest well, we will betake us else- 

[uLVssES is seen approaching.^ 

Be still a little while, utter no word or cry ; 
the leader of the Cephallanians hither bends his 
accursed steps. 


[ff'iVA ajinal appealing look towards the tomb.^ 

Yawn deep, O earth, and thou, my husband, rive 
the rent earth to its lowest caves and hide the 
charge I give thee in the deep bosom of the Styx. 
Ulysses is here, with step and look of one in hesita- 
tion; in his heart he weaves some crafty stratagem. 

^Enler ulysses.] 




Durae minister sortis hoc primum peto, 
ut, ore quamvis verba dicantur meo, 
non esse credas nostra ; Graiorura omnium 
procerumque vox est, petere quos seras demos 
Hectorea suboles prohibet ; banc fata expetunt. 
sollicita Danaos pacis incertae fides 
semper tenebit, semper a tergo timor 530 

respicere coget, arma nee poni sinet, 
dum Phrygibus animos natus eversis dabit, 
Andromacha, vester. augur haec Calchas canit; 
et, si taceret augur haec Calclias, tamen 
dicebat Hector, cuius et stirpem horreo ; 
generosa in ortus semina exurgunt suos. 
sic ille magni parvus armenti comes 
primisque nondum cornibus findens cutem 
cervice subito celsus et fronte arduus 
gregem paternum ducit ac pecori imperat ; 540 

quae teiiera caeso virga de trunco stetit, 
par ipsa matri tempore exiguo subit 
umbrasque terris reddit et caelo nemus ; 
sic male relictus igne de magno cinis 
vires resumit. est quidem iniustus dolor 
rerum aestimator; si tamen tecum exigas, 
veniam dabis, quod bella post hiemes decern 
totidemque messes iam senex miles timet 
aliasque clades rursus ac numquam bene 
Troiara iacentem. magna res Danaos movet, 550 
futurus Hector, libera Graios metu. 



As the minister of harsh fate I beg this first, 
that, although the words are uttered by my lips, 
thou count them not my words ; it is the voice of all 
the Grecian chiefs, whom Hector's son is keeping 
from their late home-coming ; 'tis the fates demand 
him. A fretting mistrust of uncertain peace will 
ever possess the Danai, and fear ever will force them 
to look behind and not let them lay down their 
arms, so long as thy son, Andromache, and Hector's 
shall give heart to the conquered Phrygians. Calchas, 
the augur, gives this response ; and if Calchas, the 
augur, were silent upon this, yet Hector used to say 
it, and I dread even a son of his ; the generous scion 
grows to its parent's likeness. So that little com- 
panion of the mighty herd, his first horns not yet 
sprouting through the skin, suddenly, with high- 
borne neck and proudly lifted brow, leads his father's 
herd and rules the drove ; the slender shoot which 
has sprung up from a lopped-off trunk in a little 
while rises to match the parent tree, gives back shade 
to the earth and a sacred grove to heaven ; so do the 
embers of a great fire, carelessly left behind, regain 
their strength. I know that grief is no impartial 
judge ; still, if thou weigh the matter with thyself, 
thou wilt forgive a soldier if, after ten winters and 
as many harvest seasons, now veteran he fears war, 
fears still other bloody battles and Troy never wholly 
o'erthrown. A great matter moves the forebodings 
of the Daiiai — another Hector. Free the Greeks 


haec una naves causa deductas tenet, 
hac classis haeret. neve crudelem putes,' 
quod sorte iussus Hectoris natum petam ; 
petissem Oresten. patere quad victor tulit. 


Vtinam quid em esses, uate, materna in manu, 
nossemque quis te casus ereptum mihi 
teneret, aut quae regio — non hostilibus 
confossa telis pectus ac vinclis manus 
secantibus praestricta, non acri latus 560 

utrumque flamraa cincta maternam fidem 
uinquam exuissem. nate, quis te nunc locu>, 
fortuna quae poss^dit? errore avio 
vagus arva lustras ? vastus an patriae vapor 
corripuit artus ? saevus an victor tuo 
lusit cruore ? numquid immanis ferae 
morsu peremptus pascis Idaeas aves ? 


Simulata remove verba ; non facile est tibi 
decipere Vlixen ; vicimus matrum dolos, 
etiam dearum. cassa consilia amove ; 570 

ubi natus est ? 


Vbi Hector? ubi cuncti Phrvges? 
ubi Priamus ? unum quaeris ; ego quaero omnia. 


from fear. This one cause holds our ships, already 
launched ; this cause stays the fleet. And think me 
not cruel because, at the bidding of the lot, I seek 
Hector's son ; I would have sought Orestes.^ Bear 
thou what thy conqueror has borne.~ 


Oh, that thou wert within thy mother's reach, 
my son, and that I knew what hap holds thee now 
snatched from my arms, or what place — not though 
my breast were pierced with hostile spears, and my 
hands bound with cutting chains, not though scorch- 
ing flames hemmed me on either side, would I ever 
put off a mother's loyalty. O son, what place, whatJ 
fate, hath gotten thee now ? On some pathless way 
dost thou roam the fields ? Has the vast burning of 
thy fatherland consumed thy frame ? oi has some 
rude conqueror revelled in thy blood ? Slain by some 
wild beast's fangs, dost feed the birds of Ida ? 


Have done with lies ; 'tis not easy for thee to 
deceive Ulysses ; we have out-matched the wiles 
of mothers and even of goddesses.^ Away with 
vain designs ; where is thy son .'* 


Where is Hector? Where all the Phrygians? 
Where is Priam .'' Thou seekest one ; I seek for all. 

' i.e. even the son of Agamemnon. 

* An eviiient allusion to the sacrifice of Iphigenia by 
Agamemnon for the public good. 

* It was Ulysses who had tricked Clytemnestra into 
letting Iphigenia go to Aulis, and had discovered the dis- 
guise under which Thetis had hidden her son, Achilles. 




Coacta dices sponte quod fari abnuis. 


Tuta est, perire quae potest debet cupit. 


Magnifica verba mors prope admota excutit. 


Si vis, Vlixe, cogere Andromacham metu, 
vitam minare ; nam mori votum est mihi. 

Verberibus igni omnique ^ cruciatu eloqiii 
quodcumque celas adiget invitam dolor 
et pectore imo condita arcana eruet ; 580 

necessitas plus posse quam pietas solet. 


Propone flammas, vulnera et diras mali 
doloris artes et famem et saevam sitim 
variasque pestes undique, et ferrum inditum 
visceribus istis, careeris caeci luem, 
et quidquid audet victor iratus timens. 


Stulta est fides celare quod prodas statim.* 


Animosa nullos mater admittit metus. 

* omnique Leo: morte MSS, * Leo deletes this line. 




Thou shalt be forced to tell what of thyself thou 
wilt not. 


She is safe who is able, who ought, who longs to 


When death draws near it drives out boastful 


If thou desirest, Ulysses, to force Andromache 
through fear, threaten her with life ; for 'tis my 
prayer to die. 


Stripes, fire, and every form of torture shall 
force thee against thy will, through pain, to speak 
out what thou concealest, and from thy heart shall 
tear its inmost secrets; necessity is oft a greater 
force than love. 


Bring on thy flames, wounds, devilish arts of 
cruel pain, and starvation and raging thirst, plagues 
of all sorts from every source, and the sword thrust 
deep within these vitals, the dungeon's pestilential 
gloom, yea, all a victor dares in rage — and fear. 


*Tis foolish confidence to hide what thou must at 
once betray. 


My dauntless mother-love admits no fears. 




Hie ipse, quo nunc contuniax perstas, amor 
consulere parvis liberis Danaos monet, 590 

post arma tarn longinqua, post annos decern 
minus timerem quos facit Calchas metus, 
si mihi timerem. bella Telemacho paras. 


Invita, Vlixe, gaudium Danais dabo; 
dandum est ; fatere quos premis luctus_, dolor, 
gaudete, Atridae, tuque laetifica, at soles, 
refer Pelasgis — Hectoris proles obit. 


Et esse verum hoc qua piobas Danais fide? 


Ita quod minari maximum victor potest 
contingat et me fata maturo exitu COO 

facilique solvant ac meo condant solo 
et patria tellus Hectorem leviter premat, 
ut luce cassus inter extinctos iacet 
datusque tumulo debita exanimis tulit. 

Expleta fota stirpe sublata Hectoris 
solidamque pacem laetus ad Danaos feram — 


This very love, in Avhicli thou now dost stubbornly 
withstand us, warns the Danai to take thought for 
their little sons. After a war so distant, after ten 
years of strife, I should feel less the fears which 
Calchas rouses, if 'twas for myself I feared. Thou 
art preparing war against Telemachus. "twl^ «>jvv/ a^-uJ 


Unwillingly, Ulysses, will I give to the Danai' 
cause for joy, but I must give it ; confess, O grief, 
the woes which thou wouldst conceal. Rejoice, ye 
sons of Atreus, and do thou bear joyful tidings to 
the Pelasgians as is thy wont — Hector's son is dead.^ 


What surety givest thou the Danai that this is 

true ? 


So may the conqueror's worst threat befall, may 
fate set me free by an early and easy passmg, may I 
be buried in my own soil, may his native earth rest 
light on Hector, according as my son, deprived of ( 
light, lies amongst the dead and, given to the tomb, 
has received the due of those who live no more.^ 


That the fates have been fulfilled by the removal 
of Hector's stock, and that peace is secure, this news 
will I joyfully bear to the Danai — [Aside.] What 

* Andromache first tells Ulysses to report that her son is 
deacl ; but she is not yet under oath ; in the second statement, 
being under oath, she speaks words which give the literal 
truth, but seem to say the opposite. 



quid agis, Vlixe ? Danaidae credent tibi, 

tu cui ? parenti — fingit an quisquam hoe parens, 

nee abominandae mortis auspicium pavet ? 

auspicia metuunt qui nihil maius timent. 6lO 

fidem alligavit iure iurando suam ; 

si peierat, timere quid gravius potest ? 

nunc advoca astus, anime, nunc fraudes, dolos, 

nunc totum Vlixen ; Veritas numquam perit. 

scrutare matrem. maeret, inlacrimat, gemit ; 

sed et hue et illuc anxios gressus refert 

missasque voces aura sollicita excipit ; 

magis liaec timet, quam maeret. ingenio est opus. 

Alios parentes alloqui in luctu decet : 
tibi gratulandura est, misera, quod nato cares, 620 
quem mors manebat saeva praecipitem datum 
e turre, lapsis sola quae muris manet. 


Reliquit animus membra, quatiuntur, labant 
torpetque vinctus frigido sanguis gelu. 


Intremuit ; hac, hac parte quaerenda est mihi ; 
matrem timor detexit ; iterabo metum. 

Ite, ite celeres, fraude materna abditum 
hostem, Pelasgi nominis pestem ultimam, 


doest thou, Ulysses? The Danai will believe thy 
word, but whose word, thou ? A mother's — or 
would any mother feign her offspring's death, and 
not shrink from the omen of the abhorrent word ? 
Yet omens they fear who have naught worse to fear. 
She has confirmed her truth by oath ; if the oath is 
false, what is the worse thing she can be fearing ? 
Now, my heart, summon up thy craft, thy tricks, 
thy wiles, now all Ulysses ; truth is never lost.^ 
Watch the mother. She grieves, she weeps, she 
groans ; now here, now there she wanders restlessly, 
straining her ears to catch each uttered word ; this 
woman's fear is greater than her grief. Now have I 
need of skill. 


•^' Other parents 'twere fitting to console in sorrow ; 
but thou art to be congratulated, poor soul, that thou 
hast lost thy son, for a cruel death awaited him, cast 
headlong from the tower which still stands solitary 
midst the fallen walls. 


Life deserts my limbs, they quake, they fail ; 
my blood stands still, congealed with icy cold. 

ULYSSES [o^e] 

She trembles ; by this, yes, by this means must 
I test her. Her fear has betrayed the mother; this 
fear will I redouble. 

[To his aUetidanls.'\ 

•*' Go, go quickly ! This enemy, hidden away by 
his mother's guile, this last plague of the Pelasgian 

^ i.e. it is always to b« discovered. 

I M 177 

ubicumque latitat, erutam in medium date. 
Bene est ! tenetur ! perge, festina, attrahe. 630 

quid respicis trepidasque ? iam certe perit. 


Vtiram timerem ! solitus ex longo est metus. 
dediscit animus sero^ quod didicit diu. 


Lustrale quoniam debitum muris puer 
sacrum antecessit nee potest vatem sequi 
meliore fato raptus, hoc Calchas ait 
mode piari posse redituras rates, 
si placet undas Hectoris sparsi cinis 
ac tumulus imo totus aequetur solo. 
nunc ille quoiiiam debitam effugit necem, 640 

erit adniovenda sedibus saeris manus. 


Quid agimus ? animum distraint geniinus timor : 
hinc natus, illinc coniugis sacri cinis. 
pars utra vincet ? testor immites deos, 
deosque veros coniugis manes mei, 
non aliud, Hector, in meo nato mihi 
placere quam te. vivat, ut possit tuos 
referre vultus. — prorutus tumulo cinis 

^ So Gr(ynovius, with A : sicre (i.e. scire) E, and so Richtei 
Leo saepe. 




name, wherever he is hiding, hunt him out and bring 
him hither. [Prete/iditig that the boy is discovered, and 
then speaking as ij' to the man who has found Aim.] 
Good ! He is caught ! Come, make haste and 
bring him in ! [To andromache.] Why dost thou look 
around and tremble ? Surely he is already dead . 


Oh, that I were afraid ! 'Tis but my wonted 
fear, sprung from long use. The mind unlearns but 
slowly what it has learned for long. 

Since the boy has forestalled the lustra! rites we 
owed the walls and cannot fulfil the priest's com- 
mand, snatched from us by a better fate, the word 
of Calchas is that only thus can a peaceful home- 
coming be granted to our ships, if the waves 
be appeased by the scattering of Hector's ashes 
and his tomb be utterly levelled with the ground. 
Now, since the boy has escaped the death he owed, 
needs must hands be laid upon his hallowed resting- 


What shall I do ? My mind is distracted by a 
double fear : here, for my son ; there, for my hus- 
band's sacred dust. Which shall prevail? I call the 
unpitying deities to witness, and that true deity, my 
husband's shade, that in my son naught else endears 
him to me. Hector, than thyself. May he live, that 
so he may recall thy face. — But shall thy ashes, torn 

1 It need not be supposed that Ulysses suspects ihat 
Astyauax is really hidden in the tomb. 


mergetur ? ossa fluctibus spargi sinam 
disiecta vastis ? potius hie mortem oppetat. — 650 
poteris nefandae deditum mater neci 
videre ? poteris eelsa per fastigia 
missum rotari ? potero, perpetiar, feram, 
dum non meus post fata victoris manu 
iactetur Hector. — hie suam poenam potest 
seiitire, at ilium fata iam in tuto locaiit. — 
quid fluctuaris ? statue, quem poenae extrahas. 
ingrata, dubitas ? Hector est illinc tuus — 
erras — utWmque est Hector ; hie sensus potens, 
forsan futurus ultor extincti patris — 660 

utrique parol non potest, quid iam facis ? 
serva e duobus, anime, quem Danai timent. 


Responsa peragam ; funditus busta eruara 


Quae vendidistis } 


Pergam et e summo aggere 
traham sepulchra. 


Caelitum appello fidem 
fidemque Achillis ; Pyrrhe, genitoris tui 
munus tuere. 

^ i.e. it is not really a choice between Hector and the boy, 
for Hector in a real sense is in the boy, who is to be another 
Hector, c/. 470 ff., 650. 




from the tomb, be sunk beneath the sea ? Shall I 
permit thy scattered bones to be flung upon the 
vasty deep ? Sooner let the boy meet death. — But 
canst thou, his mother, see him given up to murder 
infamous ? Canst see him sent whirling over the 
lofty battlements ? I can, I will endure it, will suflfer 
it, so but my Hector after death be not scattered 
by the victor's hand. — But he can still feel suffering, 
while death has placed the other beyond its reach. 
VV^hy dost thou waver ? decide whom thou wilt snatch 
from vengeance. Ungrateful woman, dost thou hesi- 
tate ? On that side is thy Hector — nay, herein thou 
errest — Hector is in both ; ^ but the boy can still 
feel pain, and is destined perchance to avenge his 
father's death — both cannot be saved. What then ? 
Save of the two, my soul, him whom the Danai'/ 


I will fulfil the oracle ; the tomb will I raze to 
its foundation. 


The tomb ye sold .'' ' 


I'll keep right on, and from the mound's top I'll 
drag the sepulchre. 


To heaven's faith I appeal, and Achilles* faith ; 
Pyrrhus, protect thy father's gift. 

* Hector's body had been sold to Priam ; here the idea of 
ransom is extended to the tomb as well. 




Tumulus hie campo statim 
toto iacebit. 


Fuerat hoc prorsus nefas 
Danais inausum. templa violastis, deos 
etiam faventes ; busta transierat furor. 670 

resistam, inermes offeram amiatis manus, 
dabit ira vires, qualis Argolicas ferox 
turmas Amazon stravit, aut qualis dec 
percussa Maenas entheo silvas gradu 
armata thyrso terret atque expers sui 
vulnus dedit nee sensit, in medios ruam 
tumuloque cineris socia defense cadam. 


Cessatis et vos flebilis elamor movet 
furorque cassus feminae ? iussa ocius 


Me, me sternite hie ferro prius. 680 

repellor, heu me. rumpe fatorura moras, 
molire terras, Hector, ut Vlixen domes, 
vel umbra satis es — arma coneussit manu, 
iaculatur ignes — cernitis, Danai, Hectorem ? 
an sola video ? 


Funditus cuncta eruam. 



This mound shall at once lie level with the plain. 


Such sacrilege, truly, the Greeks had left undarcd. 
Temples you have profaned, even of your favouring 
gods ; but our tombs your mad rage had spared. I 
will resist, will oppose my unarmed hands against 
you, aimed; passion will give strength. Like the 
fierce Amazon who scattered the Argive squadrons, 
or like some god-smit Maenad who, armed with the 
thyrsus only, with frenzied march frightens the forest 
glades and, beside herself, has given wounds, nor 
felt them, so will I rush against you and fall in the 
tomb's defence, an ally of its dust. 

ULYSSES [to his men] 

Do you hold back, and does a woman's tearful 
outcry and futile rage move you .'' My orders — be 
quick and do them. 

ANDROMACHE [struggling with the men] 

Me, me destroy here with the sword sooner. Ah 
me, I am thrust back. O Hector, burst the bars 
of death, heave up the earth, that thou mayst quell 
Ulysses. Even as a shade thou art enough — he ^ has 
brandished his arms in his hand, he is hurling fire- 
brands — ye Danai, do you see Hector ? or do I alone 
see him f 


I'll pull it down to its foundations, all of it. 
^ In her frenzy she seems to see Hector's ghost. 




Quid agis ? ruina pariter et natum et virum 
prosternis una ? forsitan Danaos prece 
placare poteris. — conditum illidet statim 
immane busti pond us — intereat miser 
ubicumque potius, ne pater natum obruat 
prematque patrem natus. 

Ad genua accido 
supplex, Vlixe, quamque nullius pedes 
novere dextram pedibus admoveo tuis. 
miserere matris et preces placid us pias 
patiensque recipe, quoque te celsum altius 
superi levarunt, mitius lapses prerae ; 
misero datur quodcumque, fortunae datur. 
sic te revisat coniugis sanctae torus, 
annosque, dum te recipit, extendat suos 
Laerta ; sic te iuvenis excipiat ^ tuus, 
et vota vincens vestra felici indole 
aetate avum transcendat, ingenio patrem : 
miserere matris. unicum adflictae mihi 
solamen hie est. 


Exhibe natum et roga. 


Hue e latebris procede tuis, 
flebile matris furtum miserae. 

^ So A: Leo aspiciat : E accipiat. 



[Aside, ffhiU the men begin to demolish the tomb."] 
What art thou doing? dost thou lay low together 
in common ruin both son and husband ? Perhaps 
thou wilt be able to appease the Danai by prayer. 
— But even now the huge weight of the tomb will 
crush the hidden boy — poor lad ! let him perish no 
matter where, so but sire o'erwhelm not son, and son 
harm not sire. 

[She casts herself at the knee* o/ulysses.] 
"^ At thy knees I fall, a suppliant, Ulysses, and this 
hand, which no man's feet have known, I lay upon 
thy feet. Pity a mother, calmly and patiently listen 
to her pious prayers, and the higher the gods have 
exalted thee, the more gently bear down upon the 
fallen. What is given to misery is a gift to Fortune.^ 
So may thy chaste wife's couch see thee again ; so 
may Laertes prolong his years till he welcome thee 
home once more ; so may thy son succeed thee, 
and, by his nature's happy gifts, surpassing all your 
prayers, transcend his grandsire's years, his father's 
gifts : pity a mother. This one only comfort is left 
in my affliction. 


Produce thy son — and pray. 


[Going to the tomb, calls astyanax.] 
Hither from thy hiding-place come out, sad object 
of a wretched mother's theft. 

[astyanax appears from the tomb.^ 

^ i.e. Fortune accepts it as an offering to herself, and will 
repay it in the hour of your own need. 



hie est, hie est terror, Vlixe, 
mille carinis. submitte manus 
dominique pedes supplice dextra 
stratus adora nee turpe puta 710 

quidquid miseros fortuna iubet. 
_^pone ex animo reges atavos 
magnique senis iura per omnes 
incluta terras, exeidat Heetor, 
gere eaptivum positoque genu, 
si tua nondum funera sentis, 
matris fletus imitare tuae. 

Vidit pueri regis lacrimas 
et Troia prior, par v usque minas 
trucis Aleidae flexit Priamus. 720 

ille, ille ferox, cuius vastis 
viribus omnes cessere ferae, 
qui perfracto limine Ditis 
caeeum retro patefecit iter, 
hostis parvi victus lacrimis, 
" suscipe " dixit " rector habenas 
patrioque sede eelsus soho ; 
sed seeptra fide meliore tene." 
hoc fuit illo victore capi ; 

diseite mites Herculis iras. 730 

an sola placent Herculis arma ? 
iaeet ante pedes non minor illo 
suppliee supplex vitamque petit— 
regnum Troiae quocumque volet 
Fortuna ferat. 

Matris quidem me maeror attonitae movet, 
magis Pelasgae me tamen matres movent, 
quarura iste magnos crescit in luctus puer. 


'"' Here he is, Ulysses, here is the terror of a 
thousand ships ! [To astyanax.] Lower thy liaiids 
and, prone at thy master's ftet, pray thou with 
appealing touch ; and deem naught base which fortune 
imposes on the wretched. Forget thy royal ancestry, 
the illustrious sway of thy noble grandsire o'er all 
lands, forget Hector, too ; play the captive and on 
bended knee, if thou feelst not yet thine own doom, 
copy thy mother's tears. 

[She turns to ulysses.] 

'^8 Troy aforetime also ^ saw the tears of a boy-king, 
and little Priam averted the threats of fierce Alcides. 
He, yes he, fierce warrior, to whose vast strength 
all savage creatures yielded, who burst through the 
doors of Dis and made the dark way retraceable, 
conquered by his small enemy's tears, exclaimed : 
*' Take the reins and rule thy state, sitting high on 
thy father's throne ; but wield the sceptre with better 
faith." This it was to be taken by such a conqueror ; 
learn ye the merciful wrath of Hercules. Or is it 
the arms alone of Hercules that please thee ? ' See, 
there lies at thy feet a suppliant, no less than that 
other suppliant, and pleads for life — as for Troy's 
throne, let Fortune bear that whithersoe'er she will. 

The grief of a stricken mother moves me, true, 
and yet the Pelasgian mothers move me more, to 
whose great sorrow that boy of thine is growing. 

* Hercules, having taken Troy and slain Laomedon for his 
breach of faith, spared little Priam, and placed him on the 
throne of his father. 

2 i.e. if Ulysses would imitate Hercules, let it be in his 
mercy as well as in hie power. 




Has^ has ruinas urbis in cinerem datae 
hie excitabit ? hae manus Troiam erigent ? 740 

nullas habet spes Troia, si tales habet. 
non sic iacemus Troes, ut cuiquam metus 
possimus esse, spiritus genitor facit ? 
sed nempe tractus. ipse post Troiam pater 
posuisset animos^ magna quos frangunt mala, 
si poena petitur, quae peti gravior potest ? 
famulare collo nobili subeat iugum, 
servire liceat. aliquis hoc regi negat? 


Non hoc Vlixes, sed negat Calchas tibi. 


O machinator fraudis et scelerum artifex, 750 

virtute cuius bellica nemo occidit, 
( dolis et astu maleficae mentis iacent 
etiam Pelasgi, vatem et insontes deos 
praetendis ? hoc est pectoris facinus tui, 
nocturne miles, fortis in pueri necem, 
iam solus audes aliquid et claro die. 


Virtus Vlixis Danaidis nota est satis 
nimisque Phry gibus, non vacat van is diem 
conterere verbis ; ancoras classis legit. 



These ruins, these ruins of a city brought to dust, 
shall he wake to life ? Shall these hands raise Troy 
again ? Troy has no hopes if she has but such as these. 
Not such our overthrow ^ that we Trojans can be a 
fear to any. Does thought of his father rouse pride in 
him ? 'Twas a father dragged in the dust. That father 
himself after Troy's fall would have given up courage, 
which great misfortunes break. If revenge be sought, 
what greater revenge couldst thou seek .'' Let the 
yoke of bondage be placed upon his high-born neck, 
let a slave's lot be granted him. Does any refuse 
this to a prince ? 


'Tis not Ulysses, but Calchas refuses this to thee. 


O thou contriver of fraud, cunning master in 
crime, by whose warlike prowess none has ever 
fallen, by whose tricks and by the cunning of whose 
vicious mind even Pelasgians ^ are undone, dost seek 
to hide behind seer and blameless gods ? This is 
the deed of thine own heart. Thou nocturnal soldier, 1 
brave to do a mere boy to death, at last thou darest 
some deed alone and in the open day. 


Ulysses' courage the Danai know full well, and 
all too well the Phrygians. But leisure we lack to 
waste the day in empty words ; the fleet is weighing 

* i.e. we are destroyed not merely in part, but utterly. 

* Iphigenia, Palaraedes, Ajax, may be cited as illustrations. 




Brevem moram largire, dum officium parens 760 
nato supremum reddo et amplexu ultimo 
avidos dolores satio. 

Misereri tui 
utinam liceret. quod tamen solum licet, 
tempus moramque dabimus. arbitrio tuo 
implere lacrimis ; fletus aerumnas levat. 


O dulce pignus, o decus laj)sae domus 
summumque Troiae fuiius, o Danaum timor, 
genetrieis o spes vana, cui demens ego 
laudes parentis bellicas, annos avi 
toties ^ precabar, vota destituit deus. 770 

Iliaca non tu sceptra regali potens 
gestabis aula, iura nee populis dabis 
victasque gentes sub tuum mittes iugum, 
non Graia caedes terga, non Pyrrhum trahes ; 
non anna tenera parva tractabis manu 
sparsasque passim saltibus latis feras 
audax sequeris nee stato lustri die, 
solemne referens Tx-oici lusus sacrum, 
puer citatas nobilis turmas ages ; 
non inter aras mobili velox pede, 780 

reboante flexo concitos cornu modos, 
barbarica prisco templa saltatu coles. 
o Marte diro tristius leti genus! 
flebilius aliquid Hectoris magni nece 
^• jmxr i vidj dmnt^::^ 

* Lto'i conjecture for medios of the MSS. : Riehter demens. 



Generously grant a brief delay while I, his mother^ 
do the last service to my son, and with a farewell 
embrace satisfy my yearning grief. 


Would that I might have compassion on thee ; 
but what alone I may, I will give thee time and 
respite. Weep thy fill ; weeping lightens woe. } 


O sweet pledge of love, O glory of our fallen 
house, last loss of Troy, thou terror of the Danai, thy 
mother's vain hope, for whom in my madness I used 
so oft to pray thy sire's war-earned praises, thy 
grandsire's years ; God has denied my prayers. Thou 
shalt not with kingly might wield Ilium's sceptre in 

JHhy royal hall, shalt not give laws unto the nations, 
nor send conquered tribes beneath thy yoke ; thou 
shalt not smite fleeing Greeks nor drag Pyrrhus 
at thy chariot-wheels. Thy slender hand shall wield 
no boyish weapons, nor shalt thou boldly chase the 
wild beasts scattered through broad forest-glades, nor 
on the appointed lustral day, celebrating the sacred 
festival of the Trojan Game,^ shalt thou, a princely 
boy, lead on thy charging squadrons ; nor among the 
altars, with switt and nimble feet, while the curved 

_liorn blares out stirring measures, shalt thou at 

Phrygian shrines celebrate the ancient dance. O mode 

of death sadder than cruel war ! A sight more tear- 

fiil than great Hector's death shall the walls behold. 

^ Troiae Ludut or Troia waa au equestrian sham-battle said 
to have been popular among the boys of Troj, described by 
Virgil, Aeneid V. 545 tf., who traces the game as played at 
Borne back to this ancient source. 




Rumpe iam fletus, parens; 
magiius sibi ipse non facit finem dolor. 


Lacrimis, Vlixe, parva quam petimus mora est ; 
concede paucas, ut mea condam manu 
viventis oculos. occidis parvus quidem, 
sed iam timendus. Troia te expectat tua ; 790 

i, vade liber, liberos Troas vide. 


Miserere, mater. 


Quid meos ratines sinus 
manusque matris cassa praesidia occupas ? 
fremitu leonis qualis audito tener 
timidum iuvencus applicat matri latus, 
at ille saevus matre suniraota leo 
praedam minorem morsibus vastis tenens 
frangit vehitque, talis e nostro sinu 
te rapiet hostis. oscula et fletus, puer, 
lacerosque crines excipe et plenus mei 800 

occurre patri ; pauca maternae tamen 
perfer querelae verba : " si manes habent 
curas priores nee perit flammis amor, 
servire Graio pateris Andromachen uiro, 
crudelis Hector.'' lentus et segnis iaces.'' 
redit Achilles." sume nunc iterum comas 



Break off now thy tears, thou mother; great grief 
Sets no limit to itself. 


For my tears, Ulysses, the respite I ask is small ; 
grant me a few tears yet, that with my own hand I 
may close his eyes while he still lives. [To astya- 
NAX.] Thou diest, little indeed, but already to be 
feared. Thy Troy awaits thee ; go, depart in free- 
dom ; go, look on Trojans who are free.^ 


Pity me, mother. 


Why clingest thou to my breast, and graspest the 
vain protection of thy mother's hands ? As, when 
the lion's roar is heard, the young bull draws close 
to its mother's trembling flank, but see ! the savage 
lion thrusts the dam away and, with huge jaws 
grasping the lesser booty, crushes and bears it off, 
so shall thy enemy snatch thee from my breast. 
Now, son, take my kisses and tears, take my torn 
locks and, full of me, liasten to thy sire. Yet bear, 
too, some few words of a mother's plaint : " If spirits 
still feel their former cares, and if love perishes not 
in the funeral flames, dost thou permit Andromache 
to serve a Greek lord, O cruel Hector ? Indifferent 
and sluggish dost thou lie ? Achilles has come back." 
Take now once again these locks, and take these 

^ i.e. the boy is to join his kinsmen who have died free 
rather than to live enslaved. 

I N 193 

et sume lacrimas, quidquid e misero viri 
fuuere relictum est, sume quae reddas tuo 
oscula parenti. matris banc solacio 
relinque vestem ; tumulus banc tetigit meus 
manesque cari. si quod bic cineris latet, 
scrutabor ore. 


Nullus est flendi modus — 
abripite propere classis Argobcae moram. 


Quae vocat sedes babitanda captas ? 
Tbessab montes et opaca Tempe, 
an viros tellus dare miUtares 
aptior Pbtbie meUorque fetu 
fortis armenti lapidosa Tracbin, 
an maris vasti domitrix lolcos ? 
urbibus centum spatiosa Crete, 
parva Gortynis steriUsque Tricce, 
an frequens rivis levibus Motbone 
quae sub Oetaeis latebrosa silvis 
misit infestos Troiae ruinis 

non semel arcus ? 
Olenos tectis babitata raris, 
virgin! Pleuron inimica divae, 
an maris lati sinuosa Troezen ? 
Pebon regnum Protboi superbum, 
tertius caelo gradus ? (bic recumbens 
mentis exesi spatiosus antro 
iam trucis Cbiron pueri magister, 


t ars, all that is left from my poor husband's funeral, 
take kisses to deliver to thy sire. This cloak leave 
as comfort for thy mother ; my tomb has touched it, 
a;ul my beloved shades. If any of his dust is hidden 
here, I'll hunt it with my lips. 

ULYSSES [to his attendants^ 

There is no limit to her weeping — away with this 
hindrance to the Arglve fleet. 

[ExeutU ULYSSES and his attendants, the former leading 
the Utile astyanax.] 

What place of dwelling calls to our captive band ? 
Thessalian mountains and Tempe's shady vale, or 
Phthia, a land more fitted to produce warriors, and 
rocky Trachin, famous for its breed of brave herds, 
or lolchos, the vast sea's mistress .'' ^ Crete, spacious 
with her hundred towns, little Gortynis and barren 
Tricce, or Mothone, abounding in tiny rills, the land 
of caves beneath Oeta's wooded heights which sent 
not once only to Troy's fall the deadly bow ? ^ Olenos, 
land of scattered homes, Pleuron, which the virgin 
goddess^ hates, or Troezen, on the broad sea's curving 
shore ? Pelion, proud kingdom of Prothous, third 
step to heaven?* (Here, reclining at full length 
within his hollowed mountain cave, Chiron, tutor 
of a youth already pitiless,^ with his quill striking 

* It was from lolchos that the Argo sailed on its conquest 
of the sea. See Medea, 596. 

* i.e. of Hercules, who took Troy by the aid of his bow 
and arrows, and later, dying on Mount Oeta, gave them to 
Philoctetes, who with them assisted in the second fall of Troy. 

* Diana, who hated this and all Aetolian towns for the sake 
of Oeneus, king of Calydon, who had slighted her divinity. 

* See Index *.». "Pelion." • Achilles. 


tinnulas plectro feriente chordas, 
tunc quoque ingentes acuebat iras 

bella canendo.) 
An ferax varii lapidis Caijstos, 
an premens litus maris inquieti 
semper Euripo properante Chalcis ? 
quolibet vento faciles Calydnae, 
an carens numquam Gonoessa vento 840 

quaeque formidat Borean Enispe ? 
Attica pendens Peparethos ora, 
an sacris gaudens tacitis Eleusin ? 
numquid Aiacis Salamina ^ veram ^ 
aut fera notam Calydona saeva, 
quasque perfundit subiturus aequor 
segnibus terras Titaressos undis ? 
Bessan et Scarphen, Pylon an senilem ? 
Pharin an Pisas lovis et coronis 

Elida claram ? 850 

Quolibet tristis miseras procella 
mittat et donet cuicumque terrae, 
dum luem tantam Troiae atque Achivis 
quae tulit, Sparte, procul absit^ absit 
Argos et saevi Pelopis Mycenae, 
Neritos parva brevior Zacyntlio 
et nocens saxis Ithace dolosis. 

Quod manet fatum dominusque quis te, 
aut quibus terris, Hecuba, videndam 
ducet ? in cuius moriere regno ? S60 

* The abrupt change of construction in the names of the places 
here foUowing suggests the loss of some words in this passage. 
Scaliger conjectures : quove iactatae pelago feremur | exules? 
ad quae locii, quas ad urbes ? 

2 So Scaliger: Leo veri, with MSS. It is vera as opposed to 
the new Salamis founded by Teucer in Cyprus. 




out tinkling chords^even then whetted the boy's 
u:hty passions by songs of war.) Or Carystos, rich 
niany-hued marble, or ChalciSj hard by the shore 
of the restless sea, where Euripus' racing tides evei 
flow ? Gilydnae, easy of approach in any wind, or 
Gonoessa, never free from winds, and Enispe, which 
shivers before the northern blast ? Peparethos, lying 
close to the Attic shore, or Eleusin, rejoicing in her 
sacred mysteries ? Shall we to the true Salamis, home 
of Ajax, or to Gilydon, famed for the wild boar, or to 
those lands ^ which the Titaressos bathes, destined 
to flow with its sluggish waters beneath the sea ? * or to 
Bessa, and Scarphe, or Pylos, the old man's ^ home ? 
to Pharis or Pisae, sacred to Jupiter, and Elis, famed 
for victors' crowns ? 

^^ Let the mournful blasts bear our misery where'er 
they list and give us to any land if only Sparta, which 
brought such^woe on Troy and the Greeks alike, be 
far away, and far away be Argos, and Mycenae, home 
of savage Pelops, and Neritos,* smaller than small 
Zacynthos,* and baleful Ithaca with her crafty crags. 
^^ What fate, what lord waits for thee, Hecuba, or 
to what land will he lead thee to be a public show ? 
In whose kingdom shalt thou die ? 

[Enter helen.] 

1 Thessaly. 

* This river, a sluggish affluent of the Peneus, was said to 
have its rise in the Styx, and plunged Leneath the sea on its 
way thither again. ' Nest>r 

♦ Two small islands near Ithaca, ruled by Ulysses. 




Quicumque hymen funestus, inlaetabilis 
lamenta caedes sanguinem gemitus habet 
est auspice Helena digniis. eversis quoque 
nocere cogor Phrygibus. ego Pyrrhi toros 
narrare falsos iubeor, ego cultus dare 
habitusque Graios. arte capietur mea 
meaque fraude concidet Paridis soror. 
fallatur ; ipsi levius hoe equidem reor ; 
optanda mors est sine metu mortis mori, 
quid iussa cessas agere ? ad auctorem redit 870 

sceleris coacti culpa. 

Dardaniae domus 
generosa virgo, melior afflietos deus 
respicere coepit teque felici parat 
dotare thalamo ; tale coniugium tibi 
non ipsa sospes Troia, non Priamus daret. 
nam te Pelasgae maximum gentis decus, 
cui regna campi lata Thessalici patent/ 878 

ad sancta lecti iura legitimi petit. 877 

te magna Tethys teque tot pelagi deae 
placidumque numen aequoris tumidi Thetis 880 

suam vocabunt, te datam Pyrrho socer 
Peleus nurum vocabit et Nereus nurum. 
depone cultus squalidos, festos cape, 
dedisce captam ; deprime horrentes comas 
crinemque doeta patere distingui manu. 
hie forsitan te casus excelso magis 
solio reponet. profuit multis capi. 

* Lines 877 and 878 were transposed by Swoboda. 


HELEN [aside] 

Whatever wedlock, calamitous, joyless, has mourn- 
iii<r, murder, blood, and lamentations, is wortlij of 
Helen's auspices. Even in their ruin am I driven 
ti> be the Phrygians' bane. It is my task to tell a 
tilse tale of marriage ^ with Pyrrhus ; mine, to dress 
the bride in Grecian fashion ; by my craft she will 
be snared and by my treachery will the sister of 
Paris fall. Let her be deceived ; for her I deem 
this the easier lot ; 'tis a deatli desirable, to die 
without the fear of death. Why dost hesitate to 
execute thy orders .'' To its author returns the blame 
of a crime compelled. 


^'1 Thou noble maid of the house of Dardanus, in 
more kindly wise doth heaven begin to regard the 
afflicted, -and makes ready to dower thee with a 
happy bridal ; such a match neither Troy herself 
while still secure, nor Priam, could make for thee. 
For the greatest ornament of the Pelasgian race, 
whose realm stretches wide over the plains of 
Thessaly, seeks thee in holy bonds of lawful wedlock. 
Thee will great Tethys call her own, thee, all the 
goddesses of the deep, and Thetis, calm deity of the 
swelling sea ; wedded to Pyrrhus, Peleus as thy 
father-in-law shall call thee daughter, and Nereus 
shall call thee daughter. Put off thy mournful garb, 
don festal array, forget thou art a captive ; smooth thy 
unkempt locks, and suffer my skilled hand to part thy 
hair.2 This fall, perchance, will restore thee to a more 
_^alted throne. Many have profited by captivity. 

^ I.e. of Polyxena. 

' It was in accordance with Roman custom to part the 
bride's hair into six locks. 




Hoc derat unum Phrygibus eversis malum— 
gaudere. flagrant strata passim Pergama — 
o coniugale tempus ! an quisquam audeat SfjO 

negare ? quisquam dubius ad thalamos eat, 
quos Helena suadet ? pestis exitium lues 
utriusque populi, cernis hos tumulos ducum 
et nuda totis ossa quae passim iaeent 
inhumata campis ? haec hymen sparsit tuus. 
tibi fluxit Asiae, fluxit Europae cruor, 
cum dimicantes laeta prospiceres viros, 
incerta voti. perge, thalamos appara. 
taedis quid opus est quidve solemui face ? 
quid igne ? thalamis Troia praelucet novis. 9OO 

celebrate Pyrrhi, Troades, conubia, 
celebrate digne : planctus et gemitus sonet. 


Ratione qoamvis careat et flecti neget 
magnus dolor sociosque nonnumquam sui 
maeroris ipsos oderit, causam tamen 
possum tueri iudice infesto meam, 
graviora passa. luget Andromacha Hectorem 
et Hecuba Priamum ; solus occulte Paris 
lugendus Helenae est. durum et invisum et grave 

servitia ferre ? pitior hoc olim iugum, 9 10 

annis decem captiva. prostratum Ilium est, 
versi penates ? perdere est patriam grave, 
gravius timere. vos levat tanti mail 
comitatus ; in me victor et victus furit. 
quam quisqiie famulam traheret incerto diu 
casu pepeiuiit; me meus traxit statim 




This one woe was lacking to the ruined Phry- 
gians — to rejoice. Pergama's ruins lie blazing all 
around — fit time for marriage ! Would any dare 
refuse ? Would any hesitate to go to a bridal when 
Helen invites ? Thou plague^ destruction, pest of 
both peoples, seest thou these tombs of chieftains, 
the bare bones which everywhere lie unentombed 
o'er all the plain ? These has thy marriage scattered. 
For thee has flowed Asia's, has flowed Europe's blood, 
whilst thou gleefully didst look out upon thy warring 
husbands with wavering prayer. Go on, make ready 
thy marriages ! What need of pine-brands, what of 
the solemn nuptial torch, what need of fire ? For 
this strange marriage Troy furnishes the torch. Ye 
Trojan dames, celebrate Pyrrhus* nuptials, celebrate 
them worthily : let blows and groans resound. 


Although great grief lacks reason and will not 
be turned aside, and sometimes hates the very com- 
rades of its suffering, still could I maintain my cause 
even before a hostile judge, having borne worse things 
than you. Andromache mourns for her Hector, 
and Hecuba for her Priam ; for Paris alone must 
Helen mourn in secret. Is it a hard, a hateful, and 
a galling thing to endure servitude ? This yoke have 
I long endured, for ten years captive. Is Ilium laid 
low, are your household gods overthrown ? It is hard 
to lose one's native country, harder to fear it. You 
are comforted by companionship in so great mis- 
fortune ; against me victor and vanquished rage alike. 
Which one of you each lord should drag away as his 
slave, has long hung on uncertain chance ; me has 



sine sorte dominus. causa bellorum fui 

tantaeque Teucris cladis ? hoc verum puta, 

Spartana puppis vestra si secuit freta ; 

sin rapta Phrygiis praeda remigibus fui 920 

deditque donura iudici victrix dea, 

ignosce praedae. iudicem iratum mea 

habitura causa est ; ista Menelaum manent 

arbitria. nunc banc luctibus paulum tuis, 

Andromacha, omissis flecte — vix lacrimas queo 



Quantum est Helena quod lacrimat malum, 
cur lacrimat autem ? fare quos Ithacus dolos, 
quae scelera nectat ; utrum ab Idaeis iugis 
iactanda virgo est, arcis an celsae edito 
mittenda saxo ? num per has vastum in mare 9^0 
volvenda rupes, latere quas scisso levat 
altum vadoso Sigeon spectans sinu ? 
die, fare, quidquid subdolo vultu tegis. 
leviora mala sunt cuncta, quam Priami gener 
Hecubaeque Pyrrhus. fare, quam poenam pares 
exprome et unum hoc deme nostris cladibus : 
falli. paratas perpeti mortem vides. 


Vtinam iuberet me quoque interpres deum 
abrumpere ense lucis invisae moras 
vel Achillis antei)usta furibunda manu 940 

occidere Pyrrhi, fata comitantem tua, 
Polyxene miseranda, quam tradi sibi 
cineremque Achilles ante mactari suum, 
campo maritus ut sit Elysio, iubet. 


my master dragged away at once, without waiting 
for the lot. Have I been the cause of wars and all 
this ruin to the Teucrians? Count that the truth 
if 'twas a Spartan ship that clove your seas ; but if, 
swept along by Phrygian oarsmen^ I was a helpless 
prey, if a triumphant goddess gave me as a reward 
to her judge, pity the helpless prey. 'Tis an angry 
judge my cause will have ; the decision of that case 
waits on Menelaiis. But now forget your own woes 
a little while, Andromache, and prevail on her ^ — I 
can scarce keep from weeping. 


How great must be the woe for which Helen 
weeps ! But why weep ? Tell us what tricks, what 
crimes the Ithacan is devising. Must the maiden be 
cast down from Ida's crags or thrown from the lofty 
citadel's high rock ? Must she be hurled into the 
vasty deep over these cliffs which lofty Sigeum with 
sheer sides raises, looking out on his shallow bay ? 
Speak, speak, whatever it is thou hidest beneath thy 
lying looks. All woes are easier to bear than that 
Pyrrhus be son-in-law to Hecuba and Priam. Tell 
us, explain what suffering thou hast in hand, and 
subtract this one from our calamities — ignorance of 
our fate. Thou seest us ready to suffer death. 


Would that the prophet of the gods bade me, too, 
end with the sword this lingering, hateful life, or fall 
before Achilles' tomb by the mad hand of Pyrrhus, 
a companion of thy fate, poor 'folyxena, whom 
Achilles bids be given to him, and be sacrificed in 
presence of his ashes, that in the Elysian fields he 
may wed with thee. 

' Polyxena. 




Vide ut animus ingens laetus audierit necem. 
cultus decoros regiae vestis petit 
et admoveri crinibus patitur manum. 
mortem putabat illud, hoc thalamos putat. 
at misera luctu mater audito stupet; 
labefacta mens succubuit. assiirge, alleva 950 

animum et cadentem, misera, firma spiritum. 

Quam tenuis anima vinculo j;endet levi ! 
minimum est quod Hecubam facere felicem potest, 
spirat, revixit. prima mors miseros fugit. 


Adhue Achilles vivit in poenas Phrygum ? 
adhuc rebt'llat ? o manum Paridis levem. 
cinis i])se nostrum saiiguinem ac tumulus sitit. 
modo turba felix latera cingebat mea, 
lassabar in tot oscula et tantum gregem 
dividere matrem ; sola nunc haec est super 9^0 

votum, comes, levamen afflictae, quies ; 
haec totus Hecubae fetus, hac sola vocor 
iam voce mater, dura et infelix age 
elabere anima, denique hoc unum mihi 
remitte funus. inrigat fletus genas 
imberque victo subitus e vultu cadit. 



See with what joy her mighty soul has heard 
her doom ! The beeoming attire of royal robes she 
seeks, and allows Helen's hand to approach her 
locks. Death she deemed that other, this, her 
bridal. But, hearing the woeful news, her wretched 
mother ^ is in a daze ; her tottering reason has given 
way. Arise, lift up thy courage, poor queen, 
strengthen thy fainting spirit, 

[hecuba falls in a faint.'] 

®5* On how slender a thread her frail life hangs ! 
But very little lacks to bring — hajjpiness to Hecuba. 
She breathes, she lives again. "I'is the wretched 
that death first flees. 

Does Achilles still live for vengeance on the 
Phrygians .'' Does he still war against them } 
O hand of Paris, too light .'^ His very ashes and 
his tomb thirst for our blood. But late a happy 
throng of children girt me round, and I grew weary 
of sharing a mother's love among so many kisses 
and so large a flock ; but now this daughter alone is 
left, object of my prayer, my companion, comfort in 
aflliction, my resting-place ; she is Hecuba's entire 
offspring, hers is the only voice that now calls me 
mother. O obstinate, unhappy soul, come, slip away, 
and spare me the sight of this one death at least. 
Tears overflow my cheeks and from my vanquished 
eyes a sudden shower falls. 

* Hecuba has been present during this scene, up to this 
time ;iS a penona mula. 

* Paris should have tlaiii Achilles past all resurrection. 




Nos Hecuba,nos,nos, Hecuba, lugendaesumus, 969 
quas mota classis hue et hue sparsas feret; 970 

banc cara tellus sedibus patriis teget. 


Magis invidebis, si tuam sortem scies. 


An aliqua poenae pars meae ignota est mihi ? 


Versata dominos urna eaptivis dedit. 


Cui famula trader ? ede ; quern dominum voco ? 


Te sorte prima Scyrius iuvenis tulit. 


Cassandra fehx, quam furor sorti eximit 


Regum banc maximus rector tenet. 978 


Laetare, gaude, nata. quam vellet tuos 967 

Cassandra thalamos^ vellet Andromache tuos.^ 968 
estne aliquis, Hecubam qui suam dici velit ? 979 

^ Leo follows Richter in placing II. 967, 968 after 978. 



'Tis we, Hecuba, we, we, Hecuba, who should be 
mourned, whom the fleet, once started on its way, 
Avill scatter to every land ; but her th e dear soil of 
her nativ^. land will cover. ^~" ' 


Still more wilt thou envy her when thine own lot 
thou knowest. 


Is any part of my suffering still unknown to me ? 


The urn has whirled and to the captives given lords. 


To whom am I given as slave ? Speak ! Whom 
do I call master ? 


Thee, by the first lot, the youth ^ of Scyros gained. 


Fortunate Cassandra, whom madness and Phoebus 
from the lot exempt. 


Her the most mighty king of kings receives. 


Rejoice and be glad, my daughter ! How would 
Cassandra, how would Andromache long for thy mar- 
riage ! [jTo HELEN.] Is there anyone who would have 
Hecuba called his ? 

' Pyrrhus. 




Ithaco obtigisti praeda nolenti brevis. 980 

Quis tarn imjjotens ac duius et iniquae ferus 
sortitor urnae refril)us reges dedit? 
quis tarn sinister dividit capias deus ? 
quis arbiter crudelis et miseris gravis 
eligere domiiios nescit et matrem Hectoris * 985 

armis Achillis miscet? ad Vlixen vocor; 987 

nunc victa, nunc captiva, nunc cunctis mihi 
obscssa videor cladibus — domini pudet, 989 

non servitutis.i sterilis et saevis fretis 991 

inclusa tell us non capit tumulos meos — 
due, due, Vlixe, nil moror, dominum sequor ; 
me mea sequentur fata : non pelago quies 
tranquilla veniet, saeviet ventis mare,^ 
et bella et ignes et mea et Priami mala, 
dumque ista veniant, interim hoc poeiiae loco est — 
sortem occupavi, praemium eripui tibi. 

Sed en citato Pyrrhus accurrit gradu 
vultuque torvo. Pyrrhe, quid cessas ? age 1000 

reclude ferro pectus et Achillis tui 
coniunge soceros. perge, mactator seimm, 
et hie decet te sanguis, abreptam trahe. 

' Richter incorporates (hracheted) in his text at this point 

a line which Leo deletes : 

Eligere domiuos nescit et [saeva manu 98.5 

dat iniqua miseris fata ? quis] matrem Hectoris 986 

and again at I. 990 : 

non servitutis. [Hectoris spolium feret 990 

qui tulit Achillis ?] sterilis et saevis fretis 991 

* Leo thinks that some such additional line as the following is 

required by the seme: sociosque merget, obrueut reducem 




To the Itliacan, against his will, hast thou fallen, 
a short-lived prize. 


Who so reckless and unfeeling, who so cruelly 
drawing lots from an unjust urn hath given royalty 
to royalty ? What god so perverse apportions the 
captives? What arbiter, heartless and hard to the 
unfortunate, so blindly chooses our lords, and unites 
Hector's mother to Achilles' arms ?^ To Ulysses am 
I summoned ; now indeed do 1 seem vanquished, now 
captive, now beset by all disasters — 'tis the master 
shames me, not the servitude. That barren land, 
hemmed in by stormy seas, does not contain my tomb^ 
— lead, lead on, Ulysses, I hold not back, I follow my 
master ; but me my fates shall follow : upon the deep 
no calm peace shall come ; the sea shall rage with 
the winds and engulf thy comrades ; and thee, e'en 
when safe home again, shall wars and fires, my 
own and Priam's evil fortunes, o'erwhelm.' And 
till those shall come, meanwhile this serves in place 
of vengeance on thee — I have usurped thy lot, I have 
stolen from thee thy prize.* 

^^^ But see, Pyrrhus approaches with hurried step 
and grim countenance. Pyrrhus, why dost thou 
hesitate .'' Come, plunge thy sword into my breast, 
and so unite the parents of thy Achilles' bride. Pro- 
ceed, thou murderer of old men, this blood of mine 
also becomes thee. [^Pointing to polyxena.] Seize ! 

^ After Achilles' death his arms had been awarded to Ulysses. 

* i.e. the place of her burial does not lie in Ithaca, since she 
will die before reaching it. 

* Translating Leo's conjecture. 

* i.e. Ulysses can have but one choice, and this, instead of 
being a beautiful young woman, has turned oat an ugly old hag. 

I o 209 


maculate superos caede funesta deos, 
maculate manes — quid precer vobis ? precor 
his digna sacris aequora ; hoc classi accidat 
toti Pelasgae, ratibus hoc mille accidat 
meae precabor, cum vehar, quidquid rati. 

Dulce raaerenti populus dolentum, 
dulce lamentis resonare gentes ; 1010 

lenius luctus lacrimacquc mordent, 
turba quas fletu similis frequentat. 
semper a semper dolor est malignus ; 
gaudet in multos sua fata mitti 
seque non solum placuisse poenae. 
ferre quam sortem patiuntur omnes, 
nemo recusat. 

ToUe felices : miserum, licet sit, 
nemo se credet. removete multo 
divites auro, removete centum 1020 

rura qui scindunt opulenta bubus: 
pauperi surgent animi iacentes. 
est miser nemo nisi comparatus. 
dulce in immensis posito ruinis, 
neminem laetos habuisse vultus; 
ille deplorat queriturque fatum, 
qui secans fluctum rate singulari 
nudus in portus cecidit petitos. 
aequior casum tulit et procellas, 
mille qui ponto pariter carinas 1030 

obrui vidit tabulaque vectus 
naufraga, terris mare dum coactis 
fluctibus Corns prohibet, revertit. 
questus est Hellen cecidisse Phrixus, ' 
cum gregis ductor radiante villo 
aureo frat^em simul ac sororem 


drag her hence ! Defile^ ye Greeks, the gods above 
with deadly slaughter, defile the shades below — nay, 
why pray to you ? I pray for seas that befit such ^ 
rites as these ; may such doom befall the whole fleet 
of the Pelasgians, may such befall their thousand 
ships, as I shall call do^vn on my own when I set sail. 

Sweet to the mourner is a host of mourners, sweet 
to hear multitudes in lamentation ; lighter is the 
sting of wailing and of tears which a like throng 
accomjjanies. Ever, ah, ever is grief malicious ; glad 
is it that its own fate comes on many, and that it 
alone is not appointed unto suffering. To bear the 
lot which all endure none can refuse. 

1018 Remove the fortunate : unfortunate though 
he be, none will so think himself. Remove those blest 
with heaps of gold,remove those who plough rich fields 
with a hundred oxen : the downcast spirits of the 
poor will rise again. No one is unfortunate save as 
compared with others. 'Tis sweet to one set in 
widespread desolation to see no one with joyful 
countenance ; but he deplores and complains of his 
hard fortune who, while he cleaves the waves in 
solitary vessel, has been flung naked into the harbour 
he had sought. More calmly has he endured thef 
tempest and disaster who has seen a thousand vessels 
engulfed by the selfsame billows and who comes 
back, borne on a piece of wreckage, to safety, 
while Corus,2 controlling the waves, forbids their 
onslaught on the land. Phrixus mourned because 
Helle fell, when the flock's leader, resplendent with 
golden fleece, bore brother and sister on his back 

* i.e. savage. * The north-west wind. 



sustulit tergo medioque iactum 

fecit in ponto ; tenuit querelas 

et vir et Pyrrha, mare cum viderent, 

et nihil praeter mare cum viderent 1040 

unici terris homines relicti. 

Solvet hunc questum lacrimasque nostras 
sparget hue illuc agitata classis, 
cum 1 tuba iussi dare vela nautae 
et ^ simul ventis properante remo 
prenderint altum fugietque litus. 
quis status mentis miseris, ubi omuls 
terra decrescet pelagusque crcscet, 
celsa cum longe latitabit Ide ? 
~ turn puer matri genetrixque nato, 1050 

Troia qua iaceat regione monstrans, 
dicet et longe digito notabit: 
" Ilium est illic, ubi fumus alte 
serpit in caelum nebulaeque turpes." 
Troes hoc signo patriam videbunt. 


O dura fata, saeva miseranda horrida ! 
quod tam ferum, tarn triste bis quinis scelus 
Mars vidit annis ? quid prius referens gemara, 
tuosne potius, an tuos luctus, anus ? 

Quoscumque luctus fleveris, flebis meos; 1060 

sua quemque tantum, me omnium clades premit ; 
mihi cuncta pereunt : quisquis est Hecubae est miser. 

1 So Richter ; Leo reads with w: et tuba . . . cum siuiul, 
and suggests that some such expretsion as the following is necessary 
here: caede cum pontus fuerit piatus. 



together, and in mid-sea lost half his burden ; but 
both Pyrrha and her husband ^ checked their mourn- 
ing, though they saw the sea, and saw nothing else 
than sea, left as they were sole remnants of the 
human race on earth. 

10*2 But fjie fleet driven this way and that will 
separate these our laments and scatter our tears, 
•when once the sailors, by the trumpet bidden to 
spread sail, shall gain the deep, by winds and speed- 
ing oarage, and the shore shall flee away. What 
will be the wretched captives' feelings when all 
the land shall dwindle and the sea loom large, and 
lofty Ida shall vanish in the distance ? Then son to 
mother, mother to her son, pointing to the place 
where Troy lies prostrate, will mark it afar with 
pointing finger, saying : " Yonder is Ilium where the 
smoke curls high to heaven, where the foul vapours 
hang." The Trojans by that sign only will see their 

[Enter messenger.] 


O cruel fate, harsh, pitiable, horrible ! What 
crime so savage, so grievous, has Mars seen in ten 
long years ? Which first shall I tell amidst my lamen- 
tations, thy woes, Andromache, or thine, thou aged 
woman ? 


Whosesoever woes thou weepest, thou wilt weep 
mine. Each feels the weight of his own disaster 
only, but I the disasters of them all; for me do all 
things perish. Whoever is unfortunate is Hecuba's. 

^ Deucalion. 




Mactata virgo est, missus e muris puer 
sed uterque letum mente generosa tulit. 


Expone seriem caedis, et duplex nefas 
perscquere ; gaudet magnus aerumhas dolor 
tractare totas. ede et eiiarra omnia. 

Est una magna turris e Troia super, 
adsueta Priamo, cuius e fastigio 

sumniisque pinnis arbiter belli sedens 1070 

regebat acies. turre in hae blando sinu 
fovens nepotem, cum metu versos gravi 
Danaos fugaret Hector et ferro et face, 
paterna puero bella monstrabat senex. 
haec nota quondam turris et muri decus, 
nunc sola cautes, undique adfusa ducum 
plebisque turba cingitur ; totum coit 
ratibus relictis vulgus. his collis procul 
aciem patenti liberam praebet loco, 
his alta rupes, cuius in cacumine 1080 

erecta summos turba libravit pedes, 
hunc pinus, ilium laurus, hunc fagus gerit 
et tota populo silva suspenso tremit. 
extrema montis ille praerupti petit, 
semusta at ille tecta vel saxum imminens 
muri cadentis 'pressit, atque aliquis (nefas) 
tumulo ferus spectator Hectoreo sedet. 

Per spatia late plena sublimi gradu 
incedit Ithacus parvulum dextra trahens 
Priami nepotem, nee gradu segni puer IO9O 




The maiden is slain ; thrown from the walls the 
boy. But each met doom with noble spirit. 


Expound their deaths in order and relate the 
twofold crime ; great grief hath joy to dwell on all 
its woes. Out with it, tell us all the tale. 


There is one high tower left of Troy, much used 
by Priam ; upon its battlements and lofty pinnacles 
he would sit watching the war and directing the 
embattled lines. On this tower, nestling his grand- 
son in his fond arms, when Hector with sword and 
torch pursued the Danal fleeing in abject fear, the 
old man would point out to the lad his father's 
battles. Around this tower, once famous, the glory, 
of the walls, but now a solitary ruin, on all sides 
pours a throng of chiefs and commons, encircling it. 
The whole host, leaving the ships, assembles here. 
For some, a far-off hill gives a clear view of the 
open space ; for others, a high cliff, on whose top the 
eager crowd stands on tiptoe balanced. A pine- 
tree holds one, a laurel-tree, another, a beech-tree, 
one ; and the whole forest sways with clinging 
people. One climbs to the highest peak of a steep 
mountain, another seeks a smouldering roof or stands 
on an overhanging stone of a crumbling wall, and 
one (oh, shame !) sits heartlessly to view the show 
from Hector's tomb 

1088 Nfow along the plain, on every hand thronged 
with people, with stately step the Ithacan makes his 
way, leading by the hand the little grandson of 
Priam ; and with no lagging step does the boy 



ad alta pergit moenia. ut summa stetit 

pro turre, vultus hue et hue acres tulit 

intrepidus animo. qualis ingentls ferae 

parvus tenerque fetus et nondum potens 

saevire dente iam tamen tollit mhias 

morsusque inanes temptat atque animis tumet ; 

sic ille dextra prensus hostili puer 

ferox superbit.^ moverat vulgum ac duces 

ipsiimque Vlixen. non flet e turba omnium 

qui fletur ; ac, dum verba fatidici et preces 1100 

concipit Vlixes vatis et saevos ciet 

ad sacra superos, sponte desiluit sua 

in media Priami reg.ja — 


Quis Colchus hoc, quis sedis incertae Scjtha 
conimisit, aut quae Caspium tangens mare 
gens iuris expers ausa ? non Busiridis 
puerilis aras sanguis aspersit feri, 
nee parva gregibus membra Diomedes suis 
epulanda posuit. quis tuos artus Icget 
tumuloque tradet ? 


Quos enim praeceps locus 1110 
reliquit artus ? ossa disiecta et gravi 
elisa casu ; signa clari corporis, 
et ora et illas nobiles patris notas, 
confudit imam pondus ad terram datum ; 
soluta cervix silicis impulsu, caput 
ruptum cerebro penitus expresso — iacet 
deforme corpus. 

' Leo : superbe MSS. 


approach the lofty walls. When he stood on the 
tower's summit, he turned his keen gaze now here, 
now there, undaunted in spirit. As the cub of some 
great beast, tiny and young, not yet strong enough 
to do injury with its fangs, still bristles, bites harm- 
lessly, and swells with rage ; so the boy, though in 
his enemy's grasp, was proudly bold. He had moved 
the crowd to tears, and the chieftains, and even 
Ulysses. Of all the throng he alone, for whom they 
wept, wept not ; and while Ulysses rehearsed the 
words and prayers appointed by the fate-revealing 
priest,^ and summoned the cruel gods to the sacrifice, 
of his own will l eaped the boy down into the midst 
of Priam's kingdom — 


What Colchian, what Scythian of shifting home 
e'er committed crime like this, or what tribe to law 
unknown by the Caspian sea has dared it .'' No blood 
of children stained the altars of Busiris, cruel though 
he was, nor did Diomedcs ^ set limbs of babes for 
his herds to feast on. Who will take up thy limbs 
and consign them to the tomb ? 


What limbs has that steep place left ? His bones 
were crushed and scattered by the heavy fall ; 
the familiar marks of his noble form, his face, the 
illustrious likeness of his sire, have been disfigured 
by his body's weight plunging to earth below ; his 
neck was broken by the crash upon the rock, his 
skull was crushed, his brains dashed out — he lies a 
shapeless corpse. 

1 Calchas. * See Index i.v. " Diomedes." 




Sic quoque est similis patri. 

Praeceps ut altis cecidit e muris puer 
flevitque Achivum turba quod fecit nefas, 
idem ille populus aliud ad facinus redit 1120 

tumulunique Achillis. cuius extremum latus 
Rhoetea leni verberaiit fluctu vada ; 
adversa cingit campus et clivo levi 
erecta medium vallis includens locum, 
crescit theatri more concursus frequens, 
implevit omne litus. hi classis moram 
hac morte solvi rentur, hi stirpem hostium 
gaudent recidi. magna pars vulgi levis 
odit scelus, spectatque. nee Trees minus 
suum frequentant funus et pavidi metu 1130 

partem ruentis ultimam Troiae vident ; 
cum subito thalami more praecedunt faces 
et pronuba illi Tyndaris, maestum caput 
demissa. " tali nubat Hermione modo " 
Phryges precantur, "sic viro turpis suo 
reddatur Helena." terror attonitos tenet 
utrosque populos. ipsa deiectos gerit 
vultus pudore, sed tamen fulgent genae 
magisque solito splendet extremus decor, 
ut esse Phoebi dulcius lumen solet 1140 

iamiam cadentis, astra cum repetunt vices 
premiturque dubius nocte vicina dies, 
stupet omne vulgus, et fere cuncti magis 
peritura laudant. hos movet formae decus, 



So also is he like his sire. 


After the boy fell headlong from the lofty tower, 
d the throng of Greeks wept for the crime it 
wrought, that same host turned to a second crime 
and to Achilles' tomb. Its further side is gently 
lapped by Rhoeteum's waters ; its front is sur- 
rounded by a plain, while a valley, sloping gently 
up, hems in the middle space. The surging mass 
increases as if thronging to a theatre and has filled 
all the shore. Some think that by this death the 
fleet's delay is ended ; some joy that the foeman's 
stock is cut away ; the greater part of the heedless 
mob detest the crime — and gaze. Nor any less do 
the Trojans throng their own funeral and, quaking 
with fear, look on at the last act of the fall of Troy ; 
when suddenly, as at a wedding, the torches come, 
leading the way, and the daughter ^ of Tyndareus as 
the bride's attendant, with sad and drooping head. 
" So may Hermione ^ be wed," the Phrygians pray ; 
"in such wise may base Helen to her husband be 
given back." Terror holds both peoples awe-struck. 
The maid herself comes on with eyes in modesty 
cast down, but yet her face is radiant and the dying 
splendour of her beauty shines beyond its wont ; 
as Phoebus' light is wont to appear more glorious at 
the moment of his setting, when the stars come 
back to their stations and the uncertain daylight is 
dimmed by the approach of night. Astonished gazes 
the wliole multitude, for all ever admire the more 
what must soon pass from them. Some, her beauty 
* Helen. * Daughter of Helen and Menelaus. 


hos iHoUis aetas, hos vagae rerum vices ; 
movet animus omnes fortis et leto obvius. 
Pyrrhum antecedit ; omnium mentes tremunt, 
mirantur ac miserantur. ut primum ardui 
sublime mentis tetigit atque alte edito 
iuvenis paterni vertice in busti stetit, 1150 

audax virago non tulit retro gradum ; 
conversa ad ictum stat truci vultu ferox. 
tam fortis animus omnium mentes ferit 
novumque monstrum est Pyrrhus ad caedem piger. 
ut dextra ferriim penitus exacta abdidit, 
subitus recepta morte prorupit cruor 
per vulnus ingens. nee tamen moriens adhue 
deponit animos ; cecidit, ut Achilli gravem 
factura terram^ prona et irato impetu. 
uterque flevit coetus; at timidum Phryges 1160 

misere gemitum^ clarius victor gemit. 
hie ordo sacri. non stetit fusus cruor 
humove summa fluxit ; obduxit statim 
saevusque totum sanguinem tumulus bibit. 


lie, ite, Danai, petite iam tuti domes ; 
optata velis maria diffusis secet 
secura classis. concidit virgo ac puer ; 
bellum peractum est quo meas laciimas feram ? 
ubi hanc anilis expuam leti moram ? 
natam an nepotem, coniugem an patriam fleam ? 
an omnia an me sola ? mors votum meum, 1170 

infantibuSj violenla, virginibus venis, 


moves ; some, her tender youth ; some, the shift- 
ing changes of her fortune ; but one and all, her 
courage, dauntless and death-confronting. On she 
mes and Pjrrhus follows ; the hearts of all are 
lied with terror, wonder, pity. Soon as the young 
man reached the summit of the steep mound, and 
stood upon the high-raised top of his father's tomb, 
the dauntless maid did not shrink back, but, 
facing the stroke, stood there with stern look and 
courageous. A spirit so bold strikes the hearts of all 
and^ — strange prodigy — Pyrrhus is slow to kill. When 
his hand, thrust forth, had buried deep the sword, 
with the death-stroke her blood leaped out in a 
sudden stream through the gaping wound. Yet, 
though in the very act of death, she put not by 
her spirit ; she fell, as if thus to make the earth 
heavy on Achilles, prone and with angry thud. The 
throng of both peoples wept ; but the Phrygians 
mourned her with timid lamentation, while the 
victors wailed aloud. Thus was the rite performed. 
The shed blood stayed not nor flowed off on the surface 
of the ground ; instantly the savage mound sucked 
it down and drank the whole draught of gore. 

Go, go, ye Danai', seek now your homes in safety ; 
let your fleet now spread its sails and at ease 
plough the longed-for sea. A maiden and a boy 
have fallen ; the war is done. But I, whither shall I 
betake my tears .^ Where in my old age shall I spew 
out this lingering life .'' Daughter or grandson, hus- 
band or country — which shall I lament .'' Shall I 
mourn all or, in my loneliness, myself alone .'' O 
death, object of my prayer, to boys and girls every- 
where thou com'st with speed and savage violence ; 


ubique properas^ saeva ; me solam times 
vitasque, gladios inter ac tela et faces 
quaesita tota noete, cupientem fugis. 
non hostis aut ruina, non ignis meos 
absumpsit artus ; quam prope a Priamo steti. 


Repetite celeri maria^ captivae, gradu ; 
iam vela puppis laxat et classis raovet. 



me alone dost thou fear and shun ; sought midst 
swords and spears and firebrands the livelong night, 
thou dost evade my eager search. No foe, no falling 
wall, no fire has consumed my limbs ; and yet how 
near to Priam did I stand ! 


Haste to the sea, ye captives ; already the vessels 
are spreading sail and the fleet is off. 




Mkdea, daughter of Aeetes, king of Colchis, a'l-'^. wife of Jason. ^ 

JasoN, son of Acson, and nc/'-. '■» of Pelias, the usurping Jcivg of 
Thcssaly ; organizer and Lailer of the Argonautic expedition 
to Colchis in quest of the Go' den Fleece. 

Creon, king of Corinth, who had received into his hospitable 
kingdom Medea and Jason, fugitives from Thcssaly, after 
Medea had plotted the death of Pelias. 

Nurse of Medea. 


Two Sons of Mcdca and Jason (personae mittae). 

Chorus op Corinthians, friendly to Jason and hostile to 

The Time of the play is confined to the single day of the 
culmination of the tragedy, the day proposed by Creon for 
the banishment of Medea and the marriage of Jason to Creusa, 
daughter of Creon. 

The Scene is in Corinth, in the court of the house of 
JasoQ. ' 



Although the play is conjined in time to the final day 
of catastrophe at Corinth, the background is the whole 
romantic story of the Argonauts : how Jason and his 
hero-comrades, at the instigation, of Pelias, the vsurping 
king of Thcssalian lolchos, undertook the first voyage 
in quest of the Golden Fleece ; how, after many adven- 
tures, these first sailors reached the kingdom of Aeetes, 
nho jealously guarded the fleece, since upon its possession 
depended his oivn kingship ; how the three deadly labours 
were imjyosed upon Jason before the fleece could be won 
— the yoking of the /ieri^^>ufls, the contest with the 
giants that sprang from tJi]}lonfn serpent's teeth, and the 
overcoming of the sleepless dragon that ever guarded 
the fleece ; how, smitten by lore of him, the beautiful 
barbaric Medea, daughter of the king, by the help of her 
magic aided Jason in all these labours and accompanied 
him in his fight ; how to retard her father's pursuit she 
slew her brother and scattered his mangled remains in 
the path as they fled ; how again, for love of Jason, she 
restored his father to youth and tricked Pelias own 
daughters into slaying their aged sire ; how, for this act, 
Medea with her husband were exiled from Thessalia and 
dwelt in Corinth ; how, for ten happy years, she lived with 
her husband and two sons in this alien land, her wild past 
almost forgotten, her magic untouched. 

But now Jason has been won away from his wife, and 
is about to wed Creusa, the daushter of Creon, king of 
Corinth. The tcedding festivities have already begun 
when the play opens and reveals Medea invoking all the 
powers of heaven and hell in punishment of her false lord. 


Di coniugales tuque genialis tori, 
I.ucina, custos, quaeque domituram freta 
Tiphyn novam frenare docuisti ratem, 
et tUj profundi saeve dominator maris, 
clarumque Titan dividens orbi diem, 
tacitisque praebens cons* />«« sacris iubar 
Hecate triformis, quosque loravit mihi 
deos lason, quosque Medeae magis 
fas est precari — noctis aeternae chaos, 
aversa superis regna manesque impios 10 

dominumque regni tristis et dominam fide 
meliore raptam, voce non fausta precor. 
nunc, nunc adeste, sceleris ultrices deae, 
crinem solutis squalidae serpentibus, 
atram cruentis manibus amplexae facem, 
adeste, thalamis horridae quondam meis 
quales stetistis ; coniugi letum novae 
letumque socero et regiae stirpi date. 

Mihi peius aliquid, quod precer sponso, manet — 
vivat. per urbes erret ignotas egens 20 



Ye gods of wedlock, and thou, Lucina, guardian of 
the nuptial couch, and thou ^ who didst teach Tiphys 
to guide his new barque to the conquest of the seas, 
and thou, grim ruler of the deeps of Ocean, and 
Titan, who dost portion out bright day unto the 
world, and thou who dost show thy bright face 
as witness of the silent mysteries, O three-formed 
Hecate, and ye gods by whose divinity Jason swore 
to me, to whom Medea may more lawfully appeal — 
thou chaos of endless night, ye realms remote from 
heaven, ye unhallowed ghosts, thou lord ^ of the 
realm of gloom, and thou, his queen, ^ won by 
violence but with better* faith, with ill-omened 
speech I make my prayer to you. Be present, be 
present, ye goddesses^ who avenge crime, your hair 
foul with writhing snakes, grasping the smoking 
torch with your bloody hands, be present now, such 
as once ye stood in dread array beside my marriage 
couch ; upon this new wife destruction bring, de- 
struction on this father-in-law and the whole ro3'al 

^* I have yet curse more dire to call down on my 
husband — may he live. Through unknown cities 

* Minerva. * Pluto. * Proserpina. 

* i.e. than that which Medea had experienced. 
' The Furies. 


exul pavens invisus incerti laris, 
iam notus hospes limen alienum expetat, 
me coniugem optet quoque non aliud queam 
peius precari, liberos similes patri 
similesque matri. — parta iam, parta ultio est : 
peperi/ querelas verbaque in cassum sero ? 
non ibo in hostes ? manibus excutiam faces 
caeloque lucem. spectat hoc nostri sator 
Sol generis, et spectatur, et curru insidens 
per solita puri spatia decurrit poli ? 30 

non redit in ortus et remetitur diem ? 
da, da per auras curribus patriis vehi, 
committe habenas, genitor, et flagrantibus 
ignifera loris tribue moderari iuga ; 
gemino Corlnthos litore opponens moras 
cremata flammis maria committat duo. 

Hoc restat unum, pronubam thalamo feram 
ut ipsa pinum postque sacrificas preces 
caedam dicatis victimas altaribus. 
per viscera ipsa quaere supplicio viam, 40 

si vivis, anime, si quid antiqui tibi 
remanet vigoris ; pelle femineos metus 
et inhospitalem Caucasum mente indue, 
quodcumque vidit Pontus aut Phasis nefas, 
videbit Istlimos. efFera ignota horrida, 
tremenda caelo pariter ac terris mala 
mens intus agitat — vulnera etcaedem et vagum 


may he wander, in want, in exile, in fear of life, 
hated and liomeless ; may he seek hospitality at 
strange doors, by now a familiar applicant ; may 
he desire me for wife, and, than which I can pray 
nothing worse, may his children be like their sire 
and like their mother. — Already borne, borne is 
my vengeance ! I have borne children ! But why 
frame complaints and idle words ? Shall I not go 
against my enemies ? I'll snatch the bridal-torches 
from their hands and the light from heaven. Does he 
behold this, the Sun, father of my race, and do men 
still behold him ^ as, sitting in his chariot, he courses 
over bi ight heaven's accustomed spaces ? Why does 
he not return to his rising and measure back the 
day.'' Grant, oh, grant that I ride through the air 
in my father's car; give me the reins, O sire, give 
me the right to guide thy fire-bearing steeds with 
the flaming reins ; then let Corinth, with her twin 
shores cause of delay ^ to ships, be consumed by 
flames and bring the two seas together, 

^' This course alone remains, that I myself bear the 
wedding torch unto the chamber and, after sacrificial 
prayers, slay victims on the consecrated altars. Amid 
the very entrails seek thou a way for punishment, if 
thou livest, O soul, if there remains to thee aught 
of thy old-time strength. Away with womanish fears, 
clothe thy heart with unfeeling Caucasus. Whatever 
horror Pontus has beheld, or Phasis, Isthmus shall 
behold. Wild deeds, unheard-of, horrible, calamities 
at which heaven and earth alike shall tremble, my 
heart deep within is planning — wounds, slaughter, 
death, creeping from limb to limb. Ah, too trivial 

^ He should be darkened at sight of such wickedness. 
* t.e. by requiring ships to sail around the Pelopon- 



funus per artus. levia memoravi nimis ; 

haec virgo feci, gravior exurgat dolor ; 

maiora iam me scelera post partus decent. » 50 

accingere ira teque in exitium para 

furore toto. paria narrentur tua 

repudia thalamis. quo virnra linques modo ? 

hoc quo secuta es. rumpe iam segnes moras ; 

quae scelere parta est, scelere linquenda est domus 


Ad regum thalamos numine prospero 
qui caelum superi quique regunt fretum 
adsint cum populis rite faventibus. . 
primum sceptriferis colla Tonantibus 
taurus celsa ferat tergore candido ; 60 

Lucinam nivei femina corporis 
intemptata iugo placet, et asperi 
Martis sanguineas quae cohibet manus, 
quae dat belligeris foedera gentibus 
et cornu retinet divite copiam, 
donetur tenera mitior hostia. 
et tuj qui facibus legitimis ades, 
noctem discutiens auspice dextera 
hue incede gradu marcidus ebrio, 
praecingens roseo tempora vinculo. 70 

et tu quae, gemini praevia temporis, 
tarde, stella, redis semper amantibus, 
te matres, avide te cupiunt nurus 
■ quamprimum radios spargere lucidos. 


tlie deeds I have rehearsed ; these things I did in 
ixirlhood. Let my grief rise to more deadly strength ; 
ureater crimes become me, now that I am a mother, 
(iird thyself with wrath, and prepare thee for deadly 
deeds with the full force of madness. Let the story 

thy rejection match ^ the story of thy marriage. 

iw wilt thou leave thy husband ? Even as thou 
liiJst follow him. Break off now dull delay; the 
liome which by crime was gained, by crime must be 

[Chanling the epithalamium for jason and creusa.] 

May the high gods who rule over heaven, and 

they who rule the sea, with gracious divinity attend 
on our princes' marriage, amid the people's solemn 
plause. First to the sceptre-bearing Thunderers ^ 
■ the bull with white-shining hide offer his high- 
raised neck. Lucina let a heifer appease, snow-white, 
untouched by the yoke ; and let her 3 who restrains 
the bloody hands of rough Mars, who brings peace to 
warring nations and holds plenty in her rich horn, 
mild goddess, be given a tender victim. And do 
thou,* who the torches of lawful marriage attendest, 
dissipating the night with propitious hand, hither 
come, reeling with drunken footstep, binding thy 
temples with garlands of roses. And thou star,^ 
forerunner of twilight, who returnest ever slowly 
for lovers — thee, mothers, thee, brides eagerly await, 
to see thee full soon thy bright beams scattering. 

* In the crimes accompanying each. 

* The epithet here includes Juno as well aa Jupiter. 
' Pax, goddess of concord. 

* Hymen. 

* Hesperus, the evening star. 


/ Vincit virgineus decor 

longe Cecropias nurus, 
I et quas Taygeti iugis 
I exercet iuvenum modo 
\ muris quod caret oppidura 

et quas Aonius latex 80 

' Alpheosque sacer lavat. 
Si forma velit asj)ici, 

cedent Aesonio duci 

proles ful minis improbi 

aptat qui iuga tigiibuSj 

nee non, qui tripodas movet, 

frater virginis asperae, 

cedet Castore cum suo 

Pollux caestibus aptior. 

Sic, sic, caelicolae, precor, 90 

vincat femina coniuges, 

vir longe superet viros. , 

Haec cum femineo constitit in choro, 
unius facies praenitet omnibus, 
sic cum sole perit sidereus decor, 
et densi latitant Pleiadum greges 
cum Phoebe solidum lumine non sue 
orbem circuitis cornibus alligat. 

Talem dum iuvenis conspicit, en rubor 
perfudit subito purpureus genas.^ 
ostro sic niveus puniceo color 

perfusus rubuit, sic nitidum iubar 100 

pastor luce nova roscidus aspicit. 

^ Leo finds a lacuna here and suggests the insertion o/ Talem 
. . . genas. 



"5 Our maiden in beauty far excels the Cecropian ^ 
brides, and those who on Taygetus' ridges are trained 
after the manner of men by the unwalled city ,2 and 
those who bathe in Aoiiia's ^ waters and Alpheus' * 
sacred stream. 

^2 Should he wish to be judged in beauty, all will 
yield to the son of Aeson, our leader — the ruthless 
lightning's son^ who yokes the wild tigers, and he ^ 
who makes tremble the tripod, the stern virgin's ' 
brother ; with his twin. Castor, Pollux will yield, 
more skilful in boxing. 

®° So, so, ye heaven-dwellers, I pray j-ou, let this 
bride surpass brides, this husband far excel husbands. 

^^ When she has taken her stand midst her train 
of maidens, her one beauty shines more brightly than 
all. So does starlight splendour wane with the 
coming of the sun, and the huddled flock of the 
Pleiades vanish away when Phoebe, shining with 
borrowed light," with encircling horns encloses her 
full-orbed disk.^ 

^8* While on such beauty the young lover gazes, 
see, her cheeks are suddenly covered with rosy 
blushes.* So snowy wool, dipped in purple dye, doth 
redden ; so shines the sun when the sheplierd at 
dawn, wet with the dew, beholds it. 

^ Athenian. * Sparta. ' Boeotian. * Of EHs. 

* See Index t.v. " Bacchus" and " Semele." 

* Apollo. ^ Diana. 
« c^. Sappho, 3 : 

ncTTfpfs fiev afiCpii KnXav afXavvav 
cf^ airvKpviTTotxn (fxlfvvov fibos 
onrrora irXjjdoiaa /xuAitrra Xd/iTri; 
yuv (n\ nalaav. 

* Translating Leo's suggested sapplementary lines. 



Ereptus thalamis Phasidis horridi, 
effrenae solitus pectora coniugis 
• invita trepidus prendere dextera, 
felix Aeoliam corripe virginem 
nunc piimum soceris, sponse, volentibus. 

Concesso^ iuvenes, ludite iurgio, 
hinc illinc, iuvenes, mittite carmina ; 
rara est in dominos iusta licentia. 

Candida thyrsigeri proles generosa Lyaei, 110 
multifidam iam tempus erat succendere pinum ; 
excute sollemnem digitis marcentibus ignem. 
festa dicax fundat convicia fescenninus^ 
solvat turba iocos — tacitis eat ilia tenebris, 
si qua peregrino nubit fugitiva marito. 


Occidimus, aures pepulit hymenaeus meas. 
vix ipsa tantum, vix adhuc credo malum, 
hoc facere lason potuit^ erepto patre 
patria atque regno sedibus solam exteris 
deserere durus ? merita contempsit mea 1 20 

qui scelei'e flammas viderat vinci et mare ? 
adeone credit omne consumptum nefas ? 
incerta vaecors mente vaesana feror 
partes in omnes ; unde me ulcisci queam ? 
utinam esset illi frater ! est coniunx ; in banc 
ferrum exigatur, hoc meis satis est malis ? 
si quod Pelasgae, si quod urbes barbarae 
novere facinus quod tuae ignorent manus, 


^"2 Do thou, O bridegroom, rescued from the 
marriage bonds of barbarous Phasis, wont with fear 
and reluctant hand to caress an unruly wife, joyfully 
take to thy arms the Aeolian maid ^ — now at last 
'tis with the parents' will. 

^"^ Sport, youths, with free banter and jesting ; let 
your songs ring out, O youths, in responsive cadence ; 
rarely against our lords is unrebuked licence given. 

11° Comely, noble scion ~ of Lyaeus, the thyrsus- 
bearer, now is the time to light thy torch of frayed 
pinewood ; toss on high the ritual fire with languish- 
ing fingers. Let saucy, sharp wit pour forth festive 
banterings and let the throng be free with jesting. — 
Let her pass in silent gloom who steals away to wed 
with a foreign husband. 

MEDEA r " 

We are undone ! Upon my ears has sounded 
the marriage-hymn. So great a calamity scarce I 
myself, scarce even yet can comprehend .'' Had 
Jason the heart to do this ; having robbed me of 
my father, native land, and kingdom, could he leave 
me alone in a foreign land, cruel ? Has he scorned 
my deservings, who saw flames and sea conquered 
by my crime .'' Does he think that all my powers 
of evil are so exhausted ? Perplexed, witless, with 
mind scarce sane, I am tossed to every side. Whence 
can I get vengeance ? I would that he had a 
brother ! ^ A wife he has ; into her heart let the 
sword be driven. Is this enough to offset my woes ? 
All monstrous deeds which Pelasgian, which barbaric 
cities know, all that thy own hands do not know, 

^ Creusa, a descendant of Aeolus. 

* Hymen, son of Bacchus and Venus. 

' That he might be slain aa ker own had been. 


nunc est parandum. scelera te liortentur tua 
et cuncta redeant — inclitum regni decus 130 

raptum et nefandae virginis parvus comes 
divisus ense/funus ingestum patri 
sparsumque ponto corpus, et Peliae senis 
decocta aeno membra, funestum impie 
quam saepe fudi sanguinem ! — et nullum scelus 
irata feci ; movit infelix amor. 

Quid tamen lason potuit, alieni arbitri 
iurisque factus.'' debuit ferro obvium 
lotferre pectus — melius, a melius, dolor 
^furiose, loquere. si potest, vivat meus, 140 

ut fuit, lason ; si minus, vivat tamen 
memorque nostri muneri parcat meo. 
culpa est Creoutis tota, qui sceptro impotens 
coniugia solvit quique genetrieem abstrahit 
natis et arto piguore astrictam fidem 
dirimit ; petalur, solus hie poenas luat 
quas debet, alto cinere cumulabo domum; 
videbit atrum verticem flammis agi 
Malea longas navibus flectens moras. 

Sile, obsecro, questusque secreto abditos 1.50 

'manda dolori. gravia quisquis vulnera 
patiente et aequo mutus animo pertulit, 
referre potuit ; ira quae tegitur nocet ; 
professa perdunt odia vindictae locum. 




must be made ready now. Let thine own crimes 
urge thee on, and let them all return in memory — 
the bright ornament of the kingdom stolen away, 
and the wicked girl's little comrade ^ hewn in pieces 
with the sword, his murder forced upon his father's 
sight, his body scattered over the deep, and the 
limbs of aged Pelias seethed in a brazen pot. 
Murder and impious bloodshed how often have I 
wrought ! — and yet no crime have I done in wrath ; 
'twas ill-omened love that stirred me. t-. .^ • ^ ■ ' 

^^' But what else could Jason have done, once made 
subject to another's will and power ? He should 
have bared his breast unto the sword — nay, ah, nay, 
mad grief, say not so ! If possible, may he live, my 
Jason, as once he was ; if not, still may he live and, 
mindful of me, keep unharmed the gift^ I gave. 
The fault is Creon's, all, who with unbridled sway 
dissolves marriages, tears mothers from their chil- 
dren, and breaks pledges bound by straitest oath ; 
on him be my attack, let him alone pay the penalties 
which he owes. I will pile his home high with ashes ; 
its dark pinnacles wrapt in flames Malea shall see. 
where, jutting out, it holds ships in tedious delay. 


Be silent, I pray thee, and confide to secret 
grief thy hidden plaints. Whoe'er has dumbly borne 
hard blows with patient and calm soul, has beeif 
able to repay them ; it is hidden wrath that harms ; 
hatred proclaimed loses its chance for vengeance. 
i Absjrtus : see Index. * i.e. his life. 



Levis est dolor qui capere consilium potest 
et clepere sese ; magna non latitant mala. 
\ libet ire contra. 


Siste furialem imj)etum, 
alumna ; vix te tacita defendit quies. 


Fortuna fortes metuit, ignavos premit. 


Tunc est probanda, si locum virtus habet. l60 


Numquam potest non esse virtuti locus. 


Spes imlla rebus monstrat adflictis viam. 


Qui nil potest sperare, desperet nihil. 


Abiere Colchij coniugis nulla est fides 
nihilque superest opibus e tantis tibi. 


Medea superest — hie mare et terras vides 
ferrumque et ignes et deos et fulmina. 



Light is the grief which can take counsel and hide 
itself; great ills lie Hot in hiding. 'Tis pleasing to 
face the foe. 

Stay this frenzied outburst, my child ; even silent 
calm can scarce defend thee. 


Fortune fears the brave, the cowardly over- 


If there is place for courage, then should it be 


It can never be that for courage there is no place. 


No hope points out a way for our broken fortunes. 

Whoso has naught to hope, let him despair of 


The Colchians are no longer on thy side, thy 
husband's vows have failed, and there is nothing left 
of all thy wealth. 


Medea is left— in her thou beholdest sea and land, 
and sword amLfire and gods and thuuderboltsi 

I ~^ "^ 241 


NVT. Rex est timendus. 

MED. Rex meus fuerat pater. 

, NVT. Non metuis arma ? 
MED. Sint licet terra edita. 

NVT. Moriere. 

MED. Cupio. M 

NVT. Profuge. ^ 

MED. Paenituit fugae. 170 

NVT. Medea, 

MED. Fiam. 

NVT. Mater es. 

MED. Cui sim vides. 

NVT. Profugere dubitas ? 

MED. Fugiam, at ulciscar prius 

NVT. Vindex sequetur. 

MED. Forsan iiiveniam moras. 


Compesce verba, parce iam, demens, minis 
animosque minue ; tempori aptari decet. 


Fortuna opes auferre, non animum potest. — 
sed cuius ictu regius cardo strej)it .'' 
ipse est Pelasgo tumidus imperio Creo. 


Medea, Colchi noxiuni Aeetae genus, 
nondum meis exportat e regnis pedem,'' 180 




NUR. The king is to be feared. 

MED. My father was a king. 

NUR. Fearst thou not arms ? 

MED. Not though they were sprung from earth.^ 

NUR. Thou'lt die. 

MED. I wish it. 

NUR. Flee ! 

MED. Of flight I have repented. 

NUR. Medea, 

MED. Will I be. 

NUR. Thou art a mother. 

MED. By whom, thou seest. 

NUR. Dost delay flight ? 

MED. Flee I shall, but I'll take vengeance first. 

NUR. The avenger will pursue, 

MED. Perchance I shall find means to stay him. 


Check thy words, spare now thy threats, foolish 
one, aad-tby. proud spirit hupable ; 'tis well to fit 
thee to the times. 


Fortune can take away my wealth, but not my 
spirit. — But under whose blows does the king's door 
upon its hinges creak ? It is Creon himself, puffed 
with Pelasgian power. 

[medea has retired to the back of the stage. Exit 
NURSE. Enter creon.] 


Medea, Colchian Aeetes' baleful child, has she 
not yet taken herself from my realm ? She is 

^ Ab when armed warriors sprang from the dragon's teeth 
euwed in the earth by Jason. 

'' 243 



molitur aliquid ; nota frauSj nota est manus. 
cui parcel ilia quemve securum sinet ? 
abolere propere pessiniam feiro luem 
equidem parabam ; precibus evicit gener. 
concessa vita est, liberet fines metu 
abeatque tuta. 

Fert gradum contra ferox 
minaxque nostros propius affatps petit, 
arcete, famuli, tactu et accessu procul, 
iiibete sileat. regium imperium pati 
aliquando discat. vade veloci fuga 190 

monstrumque saevum horribile iamdudum avehe. 


Quod crimen aut quae culpa multatur fuga ? 


Quae causa pellat, innocens mulier rogat. 


Si iudicas, cognosce ; si regnas, iube. 


Aequum atque iniquum regis imperium feras.^ 


Iniqua numquam regna perpetuo manent. 

I, querere Colchis. 

^ Leo alone of editors gives si regnas, iube to Creon, and deletes 
I. 195. This omission, especially, is unfortunate, as it leaves 
no background for iniqua in I. 196. 



plotting mischief; I know her guile, I know her 
power. Whom will she spare ? Whom will she let 
live in peace ? I was making ready to rid me of 
this outrageous pest by the sword's means and with 
all speed ; but the j)rayers of my daughter's husband 
have prevailed. I have granted her life ; let her 
free my boundaries from fear, and depart in safety. 
[He sees medea approaching.] 
^^® Boldly she moves to meet me, and with threaten 
ing mien seeks closer speech. Keep her oiF, ye 
slaves, from touch and approach far off; bid her keep 
silence ; let her learn at last to obey a king's com- 
mands. [To MEDEA.] Hence in swift flight ! remove 
at once thine abominable presence, dire, horrible ! 


What crime, what fault is punished by my exile ? 

What cause expels her — that may an innocent 
woman ask. 


If thou'rt my judge, then hear me; if my king, 


A king's commands, just and unjust, thou must 


Unjust rule never abides continually. 


Go, complain to the Colchians. 




Redeo; qui avexit, ferat. 


Vox constittito sera decreto venit. 


Qui statuit aliquid parte inaudita altera, 
aequum licet staluerit, hand aequus fuit. 200 


Auditus a te Pelia supplicium tulit ? 
sed fare, causae detur egregiae locus. 


/ Difficile quam sit animum ab ira flectere 

iam concitatum, quamque regale hoc putet, 

sceptris superbas quisquis admovit manus, 

qua coepit, ire, regia didici mea, 

quamvis enim sim clade miseranda obruta, 

expulsa supplex sola deserta, undique 

afflicta, quondam nobili fulsi patre 

avoque clarum Sole dediixi genus. 210 

quodcumque placidis flexibus Phasis rigat 

Pontusque quidquid Scythicus a tergo videt, 

palustribus qua maria dulcescunt aquis, 

armata peltis quidquid exterret cohors 

inclusa ripis vidua Thermodontiis, — 



I go ; but let him take me who brought me 



Thy prayer comes too late ; my resolve is fixed. 

He who has judged aught, with the other side 
unheard, may have judged righteously, but was 
himself unrighteous. 


Didst thou hear Pelias ere he suffered punish- 
ment ? But say on ; be a hearing granted to thine 
excellent case. 


How hard it is to turn away from wrath the spirit 
when once aroused, and how royal it seems to him 
who has grasped the sceptre in his proud hands to 
go on as he has begun, I have learned in my own 
royal home. For, although I am overwhelmed- bv 
piteous disiister, an "exile, suppliant, loiielv, forsaken, 
oii._all_si_d£.s buffeted, once I had glory from my 
noble father, and fruni my graiulsire, the Sun, traced 
illustrious descent. All the land that Phasis waters 
with its calm, winding stream, all that Scythian 
Pontus sees behind it, where the sea grows sweet 
with marshy waters,^ all that the unwedded hordes,^ 
crescent-shielded, hemmed by Thermodon's banks, 

^ Numerous rivers flow into the eastern part of the Pontus, 
depositing much nmd. Hence the marshy nature of the 
shore. These waters also sweeteu the naturally saline water 
of the Poutu?. 

* The Amazons. 


hoc omne noster genitor imperio regit. 
generosEj felix, decore regali potens 
fulsi ; petebant tunc meos thalamos proci, 
qui nunc petuntur. rapida fortuna ac levis 
praecepsque regno eripuit, exilio dedit. 220 

Confide regnis, cum levis niagnas opes 
hue ferat et illuc casus ! hoc reges habent 
magnificum et ingens^ nulla quod rapiat dies : 
prodesse miseris, supplices fido lare 
protegere. solum lioc Colchico regno extuli, 
decus illud ingens Graeciae et florem inclitum, 
praesidia Achivae gentis et prolem deum 
servasse memet. munus est Orpheus meum, 
qui saxa cantu mulcet et silvas trahit, 
geminique munus Castor et Pollux meum est 230 
satique Borea quique trans Pontimi quoque 
summota Lynceus lumine immisso videt, 
omnesque Minyae ; nam ducem taceo ducum, 
pro quo nihil debetur ; hunc nulli imputo ; 
vobis revexi ceteros, unum mihi. 

Incesse nunc et cuncta flagitia ingere. 
fatebor : obici crimen hoc solum potest^ 
Argo reversa, virgini placeat pudor 
paterque placeat ; tbta cum ducibus ruet 
Pelasga tellus^ hie tuus primum gener 240 

tauri feroeis ore flammanti occidet. 
fortuna causam quae volet nostrum premat, 


fill with alarm — over all this my father rules. High- 
born, blest of heaven, in royal power and spltndour 
then I shone ; then princes sued for marriage with 
me, whom now I must sue. Swift and fickle is 
fortune and, swooping down, has torn me from 
royalty and given me o'er to exile. 

221 Put thy trust in royalty, although light chance 
hither and thither tosses e'en mighty wealth ! This 
is the glorious, great privilege of kings, which time 
can never snatch away — to succour the afiticted, on a 
safe hearth to shelter suppliants. This only have I 
brought from my Colchian realm, that by my own 
self I saved that great glory and illustrious flower of 
Greece, bulwark of the Achaeans, offspring of gods.^ 
Orpheus is my gift, who softens the rocks by liis 
singing and draws trees after him ; mine, too, are 
the twins. Castor and Pollux, and the sons of Boreas,^ 
and Lynceus, who with far-flung gaze sees things 
removed even beyond Pontus, — and all the Minyans. 
For of the leader ^ of the leaders I say no word ; for 
him naught is owing ; 1 count none debtor for his 
sake. For you I brought back the rest ; him only 
for myself. 

236 Come on now, and heap all kinds of shameful 
deeds upon me. I will confess them ; but as for 
crimes, this only can be charged, the rescue of the 
Argo. Suppose modesty should please the maiden, 
suppose her filial duty should please her ; then will the 
whole Pelasgian land perish with its leaders, and this 
thy son-in-law will first fall before the fiery breath of 
the fierce bull.* Let what fortune will, oppress me ; 

^ The Argonauts. ^ Zetes and Calais. ' Jason. 

* In vivid memory she puts herself back at the parting of 
the ways, where she was debating in her heart as to her 
course, and from this standpoint she speaks. 


non paenitet servasse tot regum decus. 
quodcumque culpa praemium ex omni tuli, 
hoc est penes te. si placet, damna ream ; 
sed redde crimen, sum nocens, fateor, Creo ; 
talem sciebas esse, cum genua attigi 
fidemque supplex praesidis dextrae peti ; 
iterum miseriis angulum ac sedem rogo 
latebrasque viles. urbe si pelli placet, 250 

detur remotus aiiquis in regnis locus. 


Non esse me qui sceptra violentus geram 
nee qui superbo miserias calcem pede, 
testatus equidem videor baud clare parum 
generum exulem legendo et afflictum et gravi 
terrore pavidum, quippe qnem poenae expetit 
letoque Acastus regna Thessalica opt inen s. 
senio trementem debili alque aevo gravem 
patrem peremptum queritur et caesi senis 
discissa membra, cum dolo captae tuo 260 

piae sorores impium auderent nefas. 
potest lasoii, si tuam causam amoves, 
suam tueri ; null us innocuum cruor 
contaminavit, afuit ferro manus 
proculque vestro purus a coetu stetit. 
tu, tu malorum machinatiix facinorura, 
.feminea cui nequtia ad audenda omnia, 
[robur virile est, nulla famae memoria, 
egredere, purga regna, letales simul 
tecum aufer herbas, libera cives metu, 270 

alia sedens tellure soUicita deos. 


I repent not the glorious salvation of so many 
kings. Whatever reward I have won by all my 
crimes, it is in thy hands. Arraign and condemn me, 
if tis thy pleasure ; but give me back my sin.^ I am 
guilty, I confess it, Creon ; such didst thou know me 
when I clasped thy knees and as suppliant sought 
the loyalty of thy protecting hand. Once more, 
some corner, some abiding-place for my woes I beg, 
some paltry hiding-place ; if from thy city thou art 
j)leased to drive me, let some remote nook in thy 
realm be given me. 


That I am not one to wield the sceptre with 
violence nor to trample upon misery with haughty 
foot, methinks I have not unclearly shown by choosing 
for son-in-law an exile, crushed and stricken with 
heavy fear — aye, one whom Acastus, lord of Thessaly, 
demands for punishment and death. He complains 
that his father,^ palsied and weak with age, burdened 
with years, was taken off, and the murdered old 
man's limbs torn asunder, when, deceived by thy 
guile, his ^ pious sisters dared an impious crime. 
Jason can defend his own cause if it is separate from 
thine ; no blood has stained his innocence, his hand 
wielded no sword, and he has kept far off and free 
from company of such as thou. Thou, thou contriver 
of wickedness, who combinest woman's wanton 
recklessness aid man's strength, with no thought of 
reputation, away ! Purge my kingdom and take thy 
deadly herbs with thee; free the citizens from fear; 
abiding in some other land, harry * the gods. 

^ i.e. Jason, for whom she sinned. 

* I'elias. * i.e. Acastus". 

* i.e. by the power of her witchcraft, 




Profugere cogis ? redde fugienti ratem 
vel redde comitem. fugere cur solam iubes ? 
non sola veni. bella si metuis pati, 
utrumque regno pelle. cur sontes duos 
distinguis? illi Pelia, non nobis iacet ; 
fugam, rapinas adice, desertum patrem 
lacerumque fratrem, quidquid etiam nunc novas 
docet maritus coniuges, non est meum, 
totiens nocens sum facta^ sed numquam mihi. 280 


lam exisse decuit. quid seris fando moras? 


Supplex recedens illud extremum precor : 
ne culpa natos matris insontes trahat. 


Vade ; lios paterno ut genitor excipiam sinu. 


Per ego auspicatos regii thalami toros, 
per spes futuras perque regnorum status, 
Fortuna varia dubia quos agitat vice, 
precor, brevem largire fugienti moram, 
dum extrema natis mater infigo oscula 
fortasse moriens. 


Dost force me to flee ? Give back then to the 
fugitive her ship, yea, give back her comrade.^ Why 
dost thou bid me flee alone ? I did not come alone. 
If 'tis war 2 thou fearest, drive us both from thy 
kingdom. Why make distinction 'twixt two culprits ? 
'Tis for him Pelias lies dead, and not for me. Add 
flight, theft, a deserted father, a mangled brother, 
any crime which e'en now the bridegroom is teaching 
his new wives ^ — 'tis no crime of mine. Full oft 
have I been made guilty, but never for myself. 


Thy going is already overdue. Why dost contrive 
delay with words .'' 


Suppliant I make this last prayer to thee as I 
depart : let not the mother's guilt drag down her 
guiltless sons. 


Go then ; these will I take as father to my fatherly 


By the blest bed of this royal marriage, by thy 
hopes for the future, and by the estate of thrones, 
which fickle Fortune disturbs with changeful lot, 
I pray thee be bountiful of a brief stay of my flight, 
while I, their mother, imprint on my sons the latest 
kiss, perchance my dying act. 

' Jason. * i.e. with Acastus. 

' iShe uses the plural with a sneer. 




Fraudibus tempus petis. 290 


Quae fraus timed tempore exiguo potest ? 


- Nullum ad nocendum tempus angustum est malis. 


Parumne miserae temporis lacrimis negas ? 

Etsi repugnat precibus infixus timor, 
unus paraiido dabitur exilio dies. 


Nimis est, recidas aliquid ex isto licet, 
et ipsa propero. 


Capite supplieium lues, 
clarum priusquam Phoebus attollat diem 
nisi cedis Isthmo. 

Sacra me thalami vocant, 
vocat precari festus Hymenaeo dies. 300 


Audax nimium qui freta primus 
rate tam fragili perfida rupit 
terrasque suas post terga videns 
animam levibus credidit auris, 
dubioque secans aequora cursu 



For treachery seeking time. 


What treachery can be feared in time so scant ? 


No time is too brief for harm to those on evil 


Dost refuse a poor mother just a little time for 
tears ? 


Though ray ingrained fear bids me refuse thy 
plea, one day shall be given to prepare for banish- 


'Tis more than enough, though thou retrench it 
somewhat. I also am in haste, 

With thy life shalt thoa pay penalty if before 
Phoebus brings the bright day thou art not gone 
from Isthmus. 

2^^ But the marriage rites summon me, summons 
the festal day to pray to Hymen. \^Exeunt. 

Too venturesome the man who in frail barque 
first cleft the treacherous seas and, with one last look 
behind him at the well-kr.own shore, trusted his life 
to the fickle winds ; who, ploughing the waters on an 



potuit tenui fidere ligno ^ 

inter vitae mortisque vias 

nimium jijracili limite ducto. SOS 

Candida nostri saeciila patres ^ 329 

videre, procul fraude remota. S30 

sua quisque piger litora tangens 

patrioque senex factus in arvo, 

parvo dives, nisi quas tulerat 

natale solum, non norat opes. S34 

ftaondum quisquam sidera norat, 309 

/stellisque quibus pingitur aether 310 

/ non erat usus, nondum pluvias 
I Hyadas poterat vitare ratis, 
/ non Oleniae lumina caprae, 
1 nee quae sequitur flectitque senex 
\ Attica tardus plaustra Bootes, 
1 nondum Boreas, nondum Zephyrus 
jnomen habebant. 

Ausus Tiphys pandere vasto 

carbasa ponto legesque novas 

scribere ventis : nunc lina sinu J20 

tendere toto, nunc prolato 

pede transversos captare notos, 

nunc antemnas medio tutas 

ponere malo, nunc in summo 

religare loco, cum iam totos 

avidus nimium navita flatus 

optat et alto rubicunda tremunt 

sipara velo. S28 

bene dissaepti foedera mundi 335 

traxit in unum I'hessala pinus 

* Leo deletes these two lines. 

* Leo and Richter agree in the rearrangement of the following 
lines ; M. Miiller, of the modern editors, defends the traditional 


unknown course, could trust to a slender plank, 
stretching too slight a boundary between the ways of 
life and death. 

^" Unsullied the ages our fathers saw, with crime 
banished afar. Then every man inactive kept to his 
own shores and lived to old age on ancestral fields, 
rich with but little, knowing no wealth save what 
his home soil had yielded. Not yet could any read 
the sky and use the stars witli which the heavens 
are spangled ; not yet could ships avoid the rainy 
Hyades ; not yet did the fires of the Olenian Goat 
nor the Attic Wain which slow old Bootes follows 
and controls, not yet did Boreas, not yet Zephyrus 
have names. 

^^' Tiphys made bold to spread his canvas on 
the vasty deep and to write new laws for the 
winds : now to spread full-bellied sail, now to haul 
the forward sheet ^ and catch cross-breezes, now to 
set the yards in safety midway of the mast, now 
to bind them at the top, when the too eager sailor 
prays for winds and aloft the ruddy topsails flutter. 
The lands, well separated before by nature's laws, 
the Thessalian ship ^ made one, bade the deep suffer 

^ i.e. to set the sail sideways. * The Argo. 

1 R 257 


iussitque pati verbera pontum, 
partemque metus fieri nostri 
mare sepositum. 

Dedit ilia graves improba poenas 340 

. per tarn longos ducta timores, 
cum duo montes, claustra profundi, 
hiuc atque illinc subito impulsu 
velut aetherio gemerent sonitu, 
spargeret arces nubesque ipsas 
mare deprensum. 
palluit audax Tiphys et omnes 
labente manu misit habenas, 
Orpheus tacuit torpente lyra 
ipsaque vocem perdidit Argo. 

(quid cum Siculi virgo Pelori, 350 

rabidos utero succincta canes, 
omnes pariter solvit hiatus ? 
quis non totos horruit artus 
totiens uno latrante malo ? 
quid cum Ausonium dirae pestes 
voce canora mare mulcerent, 
cum Pieria resonans cithara 
Thracius Orpheus solitam cantu 
retinere rates paene coegit 

Sirena sequi ? quod fuit huius S60 

pretium cursus ? aurea pellis 
maiusque mari Medea malum, 
merces prima digna carina, 

Nunc iam cessit pontus et omnes 
patitur leges ; non Palladia 
com pacta manu regumque ferens 
inclita remos quaeritur Argo ; 
quaelibet altum cumba pererrat. 
terminus omnis motus et urbes 
muros terra posuere nova, 370 



blows/ and the sequestered sea become a part of 
our human fear. 

^*^ Heavy the penalties which that bold barqne 
paid, brought through long terrors, when two moun- 
tains, barriers of the deep, from either side quick 
rushing, roared as with sound of thunder, and the 
sea, caught between, sprinkled their peaks and the 
clouds themselves. Bold Tiphys paled with fear 
and let the helm slip wholly from his faltering hand ; 
Orpheus was still, his lyre mute with amaze, and 
the Argo herself lost voice.^ What, when the maid'* 
of Sicilian Pelorus, her waist begirt with ravenous 
dogs, opened all her gaping throats together } Who 
did not shudder in every limb when that one monster 
howled with so many tongues.'' What, when the 
deadly pests* soothed the Ausonian sea with their 
tuneful songs, when, sounding back on his Pierian 
lyre, Thracian Orpheus well-nigh forced the Siren 
to follow, though wont to hold ships spell-bound by 
her song ? Of this voyage what was the prize .'* 
The golden fleece and Medea, worse evil than the 
sea, worthy to be the first ship's merchandise. 

2^ Now, in our time, the deep has ceased resistance 
and submits utterly to law ; no famous Argo, framed 
by a Pallas' hand, with princes to man its oars, is 
sought for ; any little craft now wanders at will upon 
the deep. All bounds have been removed, cities 
have set their walls in new lands, and the world, now 

^ i.e. of oars. 

* The Argo's figurehead was made of wood from the talking 
oaks of Dodona and had itself power to speak and give timely 
warnings. • Scyll». * The Sirens. 


nil qua fuerat sede reliquit 
pervius orbis : 

Indus gelidum potat Araxen, 
Albin Persae Rhenumque bibunt. 
venient annis saecula seriSj 
quibus Oceanus vincula rerum 
laxet et ingens pateat tellus 
Tethysque novos detegat orbes 
nee sit terris ultima Thule. 


Alumna, celerem quo rapis tectis pedem ? 380 

resiste et iras comprime ac retine impetum. 

Incerta qualis entheos gressus tulit 
cum iam recepto maenas insanit deo 
Pindi nivalis vertice aut Nysae iugis, 
talis recursat hue et hue motu efFero, 
furoris ore signa lyjnphati gerens, 
flammata facies spiritum ex alto citat, 
proclamatj oculos uberi fletu rigat, 
renidet ; oranis specimen afFectus capit. S89 

quo pondus animi vergat, ubi ponat minas, 390 

haeret; minatur aestuat queritur gemit. 391 

ubi se iste fluctus franget ? exundat furor. 392 

non facile secum versat aut medium scelus; 
se vincet. irae novimus veteris notas. 
magnum aliquid instat, efferum immane impium. 
vultum furoris cerno. di fallant metum 1 


passable throughout, has left nothing where it once 
had place": the Indian drinks of the cold A raxes, the 
Persians quaff the Elbe and the Rhine. There will 
come an age in the far-off years when Ocean shall 
unloose the bonds of things, when the whole broad 
earth shall be revealed, when Tethys shall disclose 
new worlds and Thule not be the limit of the lands. 


[Sees MEDEA hurrying out of the hotise.^ 

Dear child, whither hurriest thou abroad.'' Stay, 
curb thy passion, check thy impetuous haste. 

[medea goes on without heeding.'^ 

382 As a maenad uncertainly directs her frenzied 
steps when now she raves at the oncoming of the god, 
on snowy Pindus' top or on Nysa's ridges, so she runs 
now here, now there, with frantic rush, marks of 
distracted passion in her face. Her cheeks aflame, 
she pants with deep sobs for breath, shouts aloud, 
weeps floods of tears, beams with joy ; she assumes 
the proof of every passion. Whither the weight of 
her wrath inclines, where it aims its threats, hangs 
still in doubt; she threatens, seethes with rage, 
complains, groans aloud. U'here will this wave 
break itself? Madness o'erflows its bounds. No 
simple or half-way crime doth she ponder in her 
heart; she will outdo herself. I recognize the marks 
of her old-time rage. Something great is impending, 
wild, monstrous, impious. 

[medea now approaches.^ 

I see madness in her face. May Heaven avert my 
fears ! 



Si quaeris odio^ misera, quem statuas modum, 
imitare amorem. regias egone ut faces 
inulta patiar? segnis hie ibit dies, 
ianto petitus ambitu, tanto datus ? 400 

dum terra caelum media libratum feret 
nitidusque certas mundus evolvet vices 
numerusque harenis derit et solem dies, 
noctem sequentur astra, dum siccas polus 
versabit Arctos, flumina in pontum cadent, 
numquam meus cessabit in poenas furor 
crescetque semper, quae ferarum immanitas, 
quae Scylla, quae Charybdis Ausonium mare 
Siculumque sorbens quaeve anhelantem premens 
Titana tantis Aetna fervebit minis? 410 

non rapidus amnis, non procellosum mare 
Pontusve Coro saevus aut vis ignium 
adiuta flatu possit imitari impetum 
irasque nostras ; sternam et evertam omnia. 

Timuit Creontem ac bella Tliessalici ducis .'' 
amor timere neminem verus potest, 
sed cesserit coactus et dederit manus; 
adire certe et coniugem extremo alloqui 
sermone potuit. hoc quoque extimuit ferox. 
laxare certe tempus immitis fugae 420 

genei'o licebat — liberis unus dies 
datus est duobus. non queror tempus breve ; 
multum patebit. faciet hie faciet dies 
quod nullus umquam taceat. invadam decs 
et cuncta quatiam. 

MEDEA [aade] 

If thou seekst, poor soul, what limit thou 
shouldst set to hate, copy thy love. Can it be that 
unavenged I should endure this royal wedding? 
Shall this day go idly by so anxiously besought, so 
anxiously bestowed ? While the central earth shall 
bear up the balanced heavens, while the bright 
universe shall pursue its unchanging rounds, while 
sands lack number, while day attends the sun and 
stars the night, while the dry ^ Bears revolve about 
the pole, and rivers fall to the sea, my madness shall 
never cease its quest of vengeance and shall grow 
on for ever. What ferocity of beasts, what Scylla, 
what Charybdis, sucking up the Ausonian and Sicilian 
waters, or what Aetna, resting heavily on panting 
Titan, shall burn with such threats as I ? No whirling 
river, no storm-tossed sea, no Pontus, raging beneath 
the north-west wind, no violence of fire, fanned by 
the gale, could imitate the onrush of my wrath. I 
shall lay prostrate and destroy all things. 

*^5 Did he - fear Creon and the threats of Thessaly's 
king? ^ Ttue love can fear no maij. ^ut grant that 
under compulsion he jielded and made surrender; 
hc-could ai least have come to me, could have spoken 
some last-Wiirds to hiswife. This also, though bold 
of heart, he feared to do. Surely 'twas in the power 
of the king's son-in-law to put off the time of my 
cruel banishment — one day was given for my children 
twain. But I complain not that the time is short ; 
it shall stretch far. This day shall do, shall do that 
whereof no day shall e'er be dumb. I will storm 
the gods, and shake the universe. 

^ Because these constellations never set beneath the ocean. 
* Jason. * Acastos. 




Recipe turbatum malis. 
eraj pectuSj animum mitiga. 


Sola est quies, 
mecum ruina cuncta si video obruta ; 
mecum omnia abeant. trahere, cum pereas, libet. 


Quam multa sint timenda, si perstas, vide; 
nemo potentes aggredi tutus potest. 430 


O dura fata semper et sortem asperam, 
cum saevit et cum parcit ex aequo malam ! 
remedia quotiens invenit nobis deus 
periculis peiora ; si vellem fidem 
praestare meritis coniugis, leto fuit 
caput ofFerendum ; si mori nollemj fide 
misero carendum. non timor vicit fidem, 
sed trepida pietas ; quippe sequeretur necem 
proles parentum. sancta si caelum incolis 
lustitia, numen invoco ac testor tuum : 440 

nati patrem vicere. quin ipsam quoque, 
etsi ferox est corde nee patiens iugi, 
consulere natis malle quam thalamis reor. 
constituit animus precibus iratam aggredi. 
atque ecce, viso memet exiluit, furit, 
fert odia prae se ; totus in vultu est dolor. 


Win back thy woe-troubled heart, my mistress ; 
calm thy soul. 


The only calm for me — if with me I see the 
universe o'erwhelmed in ruins ; with me let all things 
pass away. 'Tis sweet to drag others down when 
thou art perishing. [Exit. 

NURSE [calling ajler medea] 

Beware how many perils are to be feared if thou 
persist ; no one may safely assail the strong. 

[Enter jason.] 


O fate, ever hard, and fortune, cruel — when she 
rages and when she spares, equally malign I How 
often does God find cures for us worse than our 
perils ; should I resolve to be faithful to my wife 
according ^Eo~lrer "deserts, my life would be forfeited 
to death ; should I refuse to die, alas ! I must be 
faithless. It is not fear, but fearful father-love that 
has conquered faith ; surely my children would share 
their parents' death. O holy Justice, if in heaven 
thou dwellest, I call thy divinity to witness : the 
sons have prevailed upon the sire. Nav, even she 
herself, though she is fierce of heart and ill brooks 
the yoke, would rather, methinks, take thought for 
her sons than for her marriage rights. My mind is 
fixed to assail her wrath with prayers. [Enter medea.] 
And see, at sight of me she starts up, bursts into a 
passion, displays her hate ; all her anguish is in 
her face. 



Fugimus, lason, fugimus. hoc non est novum, 
mutare sedes ; causa fugiendi nova est — 
pro te solebam fugere. discedo exeo, 
penatibus profugere quam cogis tuis ; 450 

at quo remittis ? Phasin et Colchos petam 
patriumque regnum quaeque fraternus cruor 
perfudit arva ? quas peti terras iubes ? 
quae maria monstras ? Pontic! fauces freti 
per quas revexi nobilem regum manum 
adulterum secuta per Symplegadas ? 
parvamne lolcon^ Thessala an Tempe petam? 
quascumque aperui tibi vias, clausi mihi. 
quo me remittis ? exuli exilium imperas 
nee das. eatur. regius iussit gener ; 4-60 

nihil recuso. dira supplicia ingere ; 
merui. cruentis paelicem poenis premat 
regalis ira, vinculis oneret manus 
clausamque saxo noctis aeternae obruat ; 
minora meritis patiar. 

Ingratum caput, 
revolvat animus igneos tauri halitus 
interque saevos gentis indomitae metus 
armifero in arvo flammeum Aeetae pecus,^ 
hostisque subiti tela, cum iussu meo 
terrigena miles mutua caede occidit. 470 

adice expetita spolia Phrixei arietis 
somnoque iussum lumina ignoto dare 
insomne monstrum, traditum fratrem neci 

1 ieo deletes II. 467, 468. 



We are fleeing, Jason, fleeing. 'Tis no new thing 
to change our al>ode ; but the cause of flight is 
new — 'twas for thee I was wont to flee. I withdraw, 
I go away, whom thou art forcing to flee forth from 
thy home; but whither dost thou send me back? 
Shall 1 seek Phasis and the Colchians, my father's 
kingdom, the fields drenched with my brother's 
blood ? What lands dost thou bid me seek .'' What 
waters dost show to me ? The jaws of the Pontic sea 
through which I brought back the noble band of 
princes, following thee, thou wanton, through the 
Clashing Rocks ^ Is it little lolcos or Thessalian 
Tempe I shall seek } All the ways which I have 
opened for thee 1 have closed upon myself Whither 
dost send me back ? Thou imposest exile on an 
exile, but givest no place. But let me go. A king's 
son-in-law has commanded it; I'll not refuse. Heap 
dire penalties upon me ; them have I deserved. 
Let the angry king crush thy mistress with cruel 
punishments, load her hands with chains, shut her 
up and bury her in dungeons of eternal darkness; 
I shall suffer less than I deserve. 

'^'^ O ungrateful man, let tTiy heart recall the 
bull's fiery breath, and, midst the savage terrors 
of an unconquered race, the fire-breathing herd 
on Aeetes* arm-bearing^ plain, the weapons of the 
suddenly appearing foe, when, at my order, the 
earth-born soldiery fell in mutual slaughter. Think, 
too, on the long-sought spoil of the ram of Phrixus, 
the sleepless dragon, bidden to close his eyes in 
unknown slumber, my brother given up to death, 

* Where the dragon's teeth sowed by Jason sprang up into 
fuU-armed warriors. 



et scelere in uno non semel factum scelus, 

ausasque natas fraude deceptas mea 

secare membra non revicturi senis. 476 

per spes tuorum liberum et certum larem, 478 

per victa monstra, per manus, pro te quibus 

numquam peperci, perque praeteritos metus, 480 

per caelum et undas^ coniugi testes mei, 

miserere, redde supplici felix vicem. 482 

aliena quaerens regna deserui mea ; 477 

ex opibus ill is, quas procul raptas Scythae 483 

usque a perustis Indiae populis agunt, 

quas quia referta vix domus gaza capit, 

ornamus auro nemora, nil exul tuli 

nisi fratris artus. hos quoque impendi tibi, 

tibi patria cessit, tibi pater, frater, pudor — > 

hac dote nupsi. redde fugienti sua. 


Perimere cum te vellet infestus Creo, 490 

lacrimis meis evictus exilium dedit. 


Poenam putabam ; munus ut video est fuga. 


Dum licet abire, profuge teque hinc eripe ; 
gravis ira regum est semper. 

^ Medea not only slew her brother, but cut him in pieces and 
cast them into the sea. She thinks of each piece as a separate 
crime. Similarly, when her brother's ghost appears to her 
(1. 963) it is still in pieces, dispersis membris. 



crime not done once alone in one act of crime ; ^ 
think on the daughters- who, lured by my guile, 
dared dismember the old man who was never to 
return to life. By the hopes of thy children, thine 
established house, by the monsters conquered, by 
these hands which I have never spared in thy 
service, by the perils we have undergone, by 
heaven and sea, witnesses of my marriage, have 
mercy on me ; happy thyself, give thy suppliant 
her turn at happiness. Seeking a kingdom for 
another, 1 have given up my own ; of all that 
wealth which, plundered even from the distant 
swart tribes of India, the Scythians heap up, that 
golden treasure which, since the packed palace can 
scarce contain it, we hang upon the trees,^ I brought 
away nothing in my exile save only my brother's 
limbs. Those also I squandered upon thee ; for thee 
my country has given place, for thee father, brother, 
maidenhood — with this dower did I wed thee. Give 
back to the fugitive her own. 

WTien angry Creon was bent on thy destruction, 
'twas by my tears he was prevailed upon to grant 
thee banishment. 

A punishment I deemed it ; now, as I see, exile 
is a boon. 


Depart while still thou mayst ; take thyself hence ; 
grievous ever is the wrath of kings. 

* Of Peliaa. 

' Referring to the golden fleece. 




Hoc suades mihi, 
praestas Creusae ; paelicem invisam amoves. 


Medea amores obicit ? 


Et caedem et dolos. 


Obicere tandem quod potes crimen mihi ? 


Quodcumque feci. 


Restat hoc unum insuper, 
tuis ut etiam sceleribus fiam nocens. 


Tua ilia, tua sunt ilia ; cui prodest scelus 500 

is fecit, omnes coniugem infamem arguant ; 
solus tuere, solus insontem voca ; 
tibi innocens sit quisquis est pro te nocens. 


Ingrata vita est cuius acceptae pudet. 


Retinenda non est cuius acceptae pudet 



In urging this upon me, thou art Creusa's advo- 
cate ; thou wouldst remove the rival whom she 


What ! Medea charge me with love ? 


Yes, murder, too, and treachery. 


What crime, pray, canst thou charge to me ? 


Whatever I have done. 

This one thing remains still for me, to become 
guilty of thy sins as well. 


They are, they are thine own ; who profits by a 
sin has done the sin. Though all should hold thy 
wife infamous, do thou alone protect her, do thou 
alone call her innocent ; let her be guiltless in thy 
sight, who for thy sake is guilty. 


Unwelcome is life which one is ashamed to have 


Then one should not keep a life which he is 
ashamed to have accepted. 




Quin potius ira concitum pectus doma, 
placare natis. 


Abdico eiuro abnuo. 
meis Creusa liberis fratres dabit ? 


Regina natis exulum, afflictis potens. 


Non veniat umquam tam malus iniseris dies 510 
qui prole foeda misceat prolem inclitam, 
Phoebi nepotes Sisyphi nepotibus. 


Quid, misera, meque teque in exitium trahis? 
abscede quaeso. 


Supplicem audivit Creo. 


Quid facere possim, loquere. 


Pro me ? vel scelus 


Hinc rex et illinc 




Nay, calm thy wrath-stirred heart ; for thy sons' 
sake be reconciled. 


I reject, forswear, disown them ! Shall Creusa 
bear brothers to my children ? 


Yes. a queen, to the sons of exiles ; a royal lady to 
the fallen. 

Never may such ill day come to the wretched, 
as shall mingle a base breed with illustrious stock 
Phoebus' sons with the sons of Sisyphus. 

Why, wretched woman, dost thou drag both me 
and thee to ruin ? Begone, I pray thee. 


Creon has heard my prayer, 


What can I do ? Tell me. 


For me ? Crime. 


A king on this side and on that ' 

I 8 273 



Est (et hie maior metus ^) 
Medea, nos confligere.^ certemus sine, 
sit pretium lason. 


Cedo defessus malis. 
et ipsa casus saepe iam expertos time. 


Fortuna semper omnis infni me stetit. 520 


Acastus instat. 


Propior est hostis Creo ; 
utrumque profuge. non ut in socerum manus 
armes nee ut te caede cognata inquines 
Medea cogit; innocens mecum fuge. 


Et quis resistet, gemina si bella ingruant, 
Creo atque Acastus arma si iungant sua ? 


His adice Colchos, adice et Aeeten ducem, 
Scythas Pelasgis iunge ; demersos dabo. 


Alta extimesco sceptra. 

^ Heading with Ricliter. Leo, Est et his inaior metus : | 

* 'The text is obviously corrupt here. Nothing satisfactory has 
been viade of nos confligere ; Leo considers II. 516-520 an 
interpolation ; Page suggests coiiflige, used in active sense. 




There is (and this more fearsome still) Medea. 
Let us ^ strive together, and let the prize be Jason. 

1 yield, worn with trouble. And do thou thyself 
beware lest thou tempt fate too often. 


Alwa ys has every fortune stood beneath my feet. 


Acastus is hard after us. 


Nearer foe is Creon ; flee them both. That thou 
arm thy hand against thy father-in-law, and stain 
thyself with kindred'^ blood, Medea does not compel 
thee ; remain guiltless and escape with me. 

And who will resist if double war assail us, if 
Creon and Acastus unite their arms .'' 

Add the Colchians to these, add Aeetes, too, to 
lead them, join Scythians with Pelasgians ; to des- 
truction will I give them all. 


I tremble at lofty sceptres. 

* i.e. Cieon and me. * Acastus was Jason's cousin. 




Ne cupias vide. 


Suspecta ne sint, longa colloquia amputa. 530 

Nunc summe toto luppiter caelo tona, 
intende dextram, vindices flammas para 
omnemque ruptis nubibus mundum quate. 
nee deligenti tela librentur manu 
vel me vel istum ; quisquis e nobis cadet 
nocens peribit, non potest in nos tuum 
errare fulmen. 

Sana nieditari incipe 
et placida fare, si quod ex soceri domo 
potest fugam levare solamen, pete. 


Contemnere animus regias, ut scis, opes 540 

potest soletque ; liberos tantum fugae 
habere comites liceat in quorum sinu 
lacrimas profundam. te novi nati manent. 


Parere precibus cupere me f'ateor tuis ; 
pietas vetat ; namque istud ut possim pati, 
non ipse memet cogat et rex et socer. 
haec causa vitae est, hoc perusti pectoris 
curis levamen. spiritu citius queara 
carere, membris, luce. 



See that thou lust not after them. 


Cut short this long discourse, lest it arouse 


Now, O most high Jupiter, thunder throughout 
thy heavens, stretch forth thy hand, thine avenging 
flames prepare, rend the clouds and make the whole 
world quake. Let thy bolts be poised with hand 
that chooseth neither me nor him ; whichever of us 
falls will perish guilty ; against us thy bolt can make 
no error. 


Begin to think with reason, and speak with calm. 
If any solace from my father-in-law's house can soothe 
thy flight, request it. 


To scorn the wealth of kings, my soul, as well 
thou knowest, hath strength and wont. I ask but 
this : that I may have my children as comrades of 
my flight, that in their bosoms I may pour forth my 
tears. Thee new sons await. 

I confess that right gladly would I yield unto thy 
prayer, but a father's love forbids ; for that I should 
permit this thing, not Creon himself, my king and 
father-in-law, could force me. This is my reason for 
living, this, my heart's comfort, consumed as it is 
with cares. Sooner could I part with breath, with 
limbs, with light. 




Sic natos amat ? 
bene est, tenetur, vulneri patuit locus. — 550 

suprema carte liceat abeuntem loqui 
mandata, liceat ultimum amplexum dare ; 
gratum est et illud. voce iam extrema peto, 
ne, si qua noster dubius efFudit dolor, 
maneant in animo verba ; melioris tibi 
memoria nostri sedeat ; haec irae data 


Omnia ex animo expuli 
precorque et ipse, fervidam ut mentem regas 
placideque tractes ; miserias lenit quies, 


Discessit. itane est ? vadis oblitus mei 56o 

et tot meorum facinorum ? excidimus tibi ? 
numquam excidemus. hoc age, omnes advoca 
vires et artes. fructus est scelerum tibi 
nullum scelus putare. vix fraudi est locus ; 
timemur. hac aggredere, qua nemo potest 
quicquam timere. perge nunc, aude, incipe 
quidquid potest Medea, quidquid non potest. 

Tu, fida nutrix, socia maeroris niei 
variique casus, misera consilia adiuva. 
est palla nobis, munus aetherium, domus 570 

decusque regni, pignus Aeetae datum 
a Sole generis, est et auro textili 
monile fulgens quodque gemmarum nitor 


MEDEA [aside] 

Ti ms does he love his sons ? 'Tis well ! I have,, 
him! TJie-^ place to wound him is laid bare. [To 
JASON.] As 1 departj my final message, at least, grant 
me to speak ; grant me to give the last embrace ; 
e'en that will be a boon. With my latest utterance 
I beg thee now ; let not any words my distracted 
grief has poured forth remain within thy mind ; let 
the memory of my better self stay with thee, and 
let these words spoken in wrath be quite forgot. 


All have I driven from my mind, and I also make 
prayer to thee that thou curb thy hot passion and 
be calm ; peace soothes the soul's distresses. [Exit. 


He has gone ! Can it be so ? Goest thou, for- 
getful of me and of all the deeds I wrought J Have 
we fallen from thy memory ? Nay, we shall never 
fall therefrom. [ To herself,^ To thy task ; summon 
up all thy powers and arts. The fruit of thy crimes 
is to count nothing crime. There is scant room for 
fraud ; we are held in fear. There make attack 
where no one can fear aught. Haste thee now, 
dare, begin whatever Medea can — and cannot — do. 

[To the NURSE.] 

5^ Do thou, faithful nurse, comrade of my grief and 
of my shifting fortunes, help my unhappy plannings. 
I have a robe, a gift from heaven, the glory of our 
house and kingdom, given by the Sun to Aeetes as a 
pledge of fatherhood ; there is also a gleaming neck- 
lace of woven gold and a golden band which the 



distinguit aurum, quo solent cingi comae, 
haec nostra nati dona nubenti ferant, 
sed ante diris inlita ac tincta artibus. 
vocetur Hecate, sacra letifica appara; 
statuantur arae, flamma iam tectis sonet. 

Nulla vis flammae tumidive venti 
tanta, nee teli metuenda torti, 580 

quanta cum coniunx viduata taedis 
ardet et odit ; 

non ubi hibernos nebulosus imbres 
Auster advexit properatque torrens 
Hister et iunctos vetat esse pontes 
ac vagus errat ; 

non ubi impellit Rhodanus profundum, 
aut ubi in rivos nivibus solutis 
sole iam forti medioque vere 

tabuit Haemus. 590 

caecus est ignis stimulatus ira 
nee regi curat patiturve frenos 
aut timet mortem ; cupit ire in ipsos 
obvius enses. 

Parcite, o divi, veniam precamur, 
vivat ut tutus mare qui subegit ; 
sed furit vinci dominus profundi 
regna secunda, 

ausus aeternos agitare currus 
immemor metae iuvenis paternae 600 

quos polo sparsit furiosus ignes 
ipse recepit. 



sparkle of gems adorns, with which the hair is en- 
circled. Let my sons bring these as gifts unto the 
bride, but let them first be anointed and imbued 
with baneful poisons. Now call on Hecate. Prepare 
the death-dealing rites ; let altars be erected, and let 
now their fires resound within the palace. 

No violence of fire or of swelling gale, no fearful 
force of hurtling spear, is as great as when a wife, 
robbed of her love, burns hot with hate ; not when 
cloudy Auster has brought the winter's rains, and 
Mister's floods speeds on, wrecking bridges in its 
course, and wanders afield ; not when the Rhone 
beats back the sea, or when the snows melt into 
streams beneath the sun's strong rays and in mid- 
spring Haemus has dissolved. Blind is the fire of 
love when fanned by rage, cares not to be controlled, 
brooks no restraint, has no fear of death ; 'tis eager 
to advance even against the sword. 

5'5 Have mercy, O gods, be gracious, we beseech 
you, that he ^ may live in safety who tamed the sea ; 
but the lord * of the deep is enraged that the second 
realm is conquered. The youth ' who dared drive 
the everlasting chariot, heedless of his father's goal, 
himself caught the fire which in his madness he 
scattered o'er the sky. The familiar path has cost 

^ Jason, who first ventured on the sea in the Argo ; cf. 
11. 318 fiF. 

* Neptune. Jupiter is lord of the sky, Neptune of the sea, 
and Plato of the underworld. ' Phaethon. 



constitit nulli via nota magno ; 
vade qua tutum populo priori^ 
rumpe nee sacro, violente, sancta 
foedera mundi. 

Quisquis audacis tetigit carinae 
nobiles remos nemorisque sacri 
Pelion densa spoliavit umbra, 
quisquis intravit scopulos vagantes 6lO 

et tot emensus pelagi labores 
barbara funem religavit ora 
raptor externi rediturus auri, 
exitu diro temerata ponti 
iura piavit. 

Exigit poenas mare provocatum. 
Tiphys in primis, domitor profundi, 
liquit indocto regimen magistro ; 
litore externo, procul a paternis 
occidens regnis tumuloque vili 620 

tectus ignotas iacet inter umbras. 
Aulis amissi memor inde regis 
portibus lentis retinet carinas 
stare querentes. 

Ille vocali genitus Camena, 
cuius ad chordas modulante plectro 
restitit torrens, siluere venti, 
cum suo cantu volucris relicto 
adfuit tota comitante silva, 

Thracios sparsus iacuit per agros, 630 

at caput tristi fluitavit Hebro ; 
contigit notam Styga Tartarumque, 
non rediturus. 

MEDEA ^,yOt!fc-<L^ 

no mortal dear ; walk thou where 'twas safe for ^ 
folk aforetime, nor break, rash man, the inviolable ' 
covenants of the universe. 

^^ Whoever handled that daring ship's famous 
oars and despoiled Pelion of his sacred grove's thick 
shade, whoever entered between the roaming rocks ^ 
and, having passed the perils of the deep, moored 
his vessel on a savage shore, to return captor of 
foreign gold — all by a dreadful end atoned for the 
sea's outraged laws. 

^^^ Punishment the challenged ocean claims. First 
of all, Tiphys, the tamer of the deep, gave up control 
to an untrained helmsman ; dying on a foreign shore, 
far from his ancestral realm, in a paltry tomb he lies 
midst unfamiliar shades. For this, Aulis, remem- 
bering her lost king, in her becalmed harbour holds 
ships chafing at delay.^ 

•^ That son' of the tuneful Muse, at whose sweet 
melodies the swift stream stood still and the winds 
were hushed, when the bird, leaving off its own 
singing, came near him, the whole wood following 
after — he lay scattered over the Thracian fields, but 
his head floated down mournful Hebrus; he came to 
the familiar* Styx and Tartarus, never to return. 

^ The Symplegadea. 

2 i.e. Aulis, long after this event, keeps the Greek fleet back 
from Troy, as if thus taking vengeance on that first fleet 
which robbed her of her king. 

* Orpheus. 

* Orpheus had visited the lower world once before. 



Stravit Alcides Aquilone natos, 
patre Neptuno genitum necavit 
sumere innumeras solitum figuras ; 
ipse post terrae pelagique pacem, 
post feri Ditis patefacta regna, 
vivus ardenti recubans in Oeta 
praebuit saevis sua membra flammis, 640 

tabe consumptus gemini cruoris 
munere nuptae. 

Stravit Aneaeum violentus ictu 
saetiger ; fratrem, Meleagre, matris 
impius mactas morerisque dextra 
matris iratae. meruere cuncti 
morte quod crimen tener expiavit 
Herculi magno puer inrepertus, 
raptus, heu, tutas puer inter undas. 
ite nunc, fortes, perarate pontum 650 

fonte timendo. 

Idmonem, quamvis bene fata nosset, 
condidit serpens Libycis harenis ; 
omnibus verax, sibi falsus uni, 
concidit Mopsus caruitque Thebis. 
ille si vere cecinit futura, 
exul errabit Thetidis maritus.^ 
igne fallaci nociturus Argis 
Nauplius praeceps cadet in profundura ; 
occidet proles/ patrioque pendet 660 

crimine poenas ; 

* Leo deletes this line, but reads erravit with u. RiehUr 
retains line and reads errabit. 

' Leo supplies occidet proles. 


•^ Alcides laid low the sons ^ of Aquilo, he slew 
Neptune's son ^ wont to take upon him countless 
shapes; but he himself, after establishing peace on 
land and sea, after opening up the kingdoms of 
savage Dis, laid him down, living, on burning Oeta, 
and gave his body to the devouring flames, consumed 
by the wasting of the double blood,^ his wife's 

8*3 The bristling boar,* irresistible in his thrust, 
laid Ancaeus low ; thou, Meleager, dost impiously 
slay thy mother's bi-other and diest by thine enraged 
mother's hand. AH these deserved the charge ^ 
for which that tender boy,® sought vainly by mighty 
Hercules, atoned by death — the boy snatched away, 
alas, midst peaceful waters. Go now, ye brave, 
plough up the sea, whose streams ye ought to dread. 

®5' Idmon, though he well knew his fate, was slain ' 
by a serpent on Libya's sands ; true to all, but false 
to himself alone, Mopsus fell and saw not Thebes 
again. If he * told truth as to the future, Thetis' 
husband' shall in exile wander. Nauplius, while 
striving to wreck the Argives by false beacon fires, 
shall fall headlong into the deep ; his son^" shall perish 
and pay the penalty of his father's sin ; ^^ Oileus,^^ 

^ Zetes and Calais. ^ Periclyinenus. 

' i.e. the commingled blood of the hydra and of Nessus ; 
see Index s.v." Nessus." * The Calydonian boar. 

* i.e. of violating the sea. ' Hvlas. 

' He could foresee the fate of others, as of Peleus, but 
could not foresee and guard against his own. 

* Mopsus. * Peleus ^° Palamedes. 
^1 i.e. of joining in the Argonautic expedition. 

'* Ajax ; the father's name is put in place of the son's. 



fulmine et ponto moriens Oileus ; 
coniugis fatum redimens Pheraei 
uxor, impendens animam marito. 
ipse qui praedam spoliumque iussit 
aureum prima revehi carina, 
ustus acceiiso Pelias aeno 
arsit angustas vagus inter undas. 
iam satis, divi, mare vindicastis ; 
parcite iusso. 

Pavet animus, horret, magna pernicies adest. 670 
immane quantum augescit et semet dolor 
accendit ipse vimque praeteritam integrat. 
vidi furentem saepe et aggressam deos, 
caelum trahentem ; maius his, maius parat 
Medea monstrum. namque ut attonito gradu 
evasit et penetrale funestum attigit, 
totas opes effundit et quidquid diu 
etiam ipsa timuit promit atque omnem explicat 
turbam malorum, arcana secreta abdita, 
et triste laeva comprecans ^ sacrum manu 680 

pestes vocat quascumque ferventis creat 
harena Libyae quasque perpetiia nive 
Taurus cohercet frigore Arctoo rigens, 
et omne monstrum. tracta magicis cantibus 
squamifera latebris turba desertis adest. 
hie saeva serpens corpus immensum trahit 
trifidamque linguam exertat et quaerit quibus 
mortifera veniat ; carmine audito stupet 
tumidumque nodis corpus aggestis plicat 
cogitque in orbes. " parva sunt " inquit " mala 690 

^ So Leo, with E: complicans A: congregans Richter : 
comparans Bueeheler : compriuiens Koetscfuiu. 



too, dying midst flame and flood ; redeeming from 
death her lord ' of Pherae, the wife - shall perish, 
giving up her life for her husband's sake. Pelias 
himself, who bade the prize of the golden spoil be 
brought away in the first ship, seething in boiling 
pot, wandering midst waters close confined, perished 
by fire. Enough now, ye gods, have ye avenged the 
sea; spare him^ who was ordered to the task. 

NURSE [rtfowe] 

My spirit quakes with horror ; some great disaster 
is at hand. Monstrously grows her grief, feeds its 
own fires and renews its former strength. Often 
have 1 seen her in frenzy and assailing the gods,^ 
drawing down the sky ; but greater than such deeds, 
greater is the monstrous thing Medea is preparing. 
For now that with maddened steps she has gone 
out and come to her baleful shrine, she lavishes all 
her stores and brings forth whatever e'en she her- 
self long has dreaded, and marshals her whole train 
of evil powers, things occult, mysterious, hidden ; 
and, supplicating the grim altar with her left hand, 
she summons destructive agencies, whatever burning 
Lib3a's sands produce, what Taurus, stiff with arctic 
cold, holds fast in his everlasting snows, and all 
monstrous things. Drawn by her magic incantations, 
the scaly brood leave their lairs and come to her. 
Here a savage serpent drags its huge length along, 
darts out its forked tongue, and seeks against whom 
it is to come death-dealing ; hearing her incantation, 
it stops in amaze, knots its swollen body into writhing 
folds, and settles them into coils. " Petty are the 
evils," she cries, " and cheap is the weapon which 

* Admetus. ^ Alcestis. " Jason. 

* i.e. the sun and moon, 



et vile telum est, ima quod tellus creat ; 

caelo petam venena. iam iam tempus est 

aliquid mo vera fraude vulgari altius. 

hue ille vasti more torrentis iacens 

descendat anguis, cuius immensos duae, 

maior minorque, sentiunt nodos ferae 

(maior Pelasgis apta, Sidoniis minor) 

pressasque tandem solvat Ophiuchus manus 

virusque fundat ; adsit ad cantus meos 

lacessere ausus gemina Python numina. 700 

et Hydra et omnis redeat Herculea manu 

succisa serpens, caede se reparans sua. 

tu quoque relictis pervigil Colchis ades, 

sopite prinium cantibus, serpens, meis." 

Postquam evocavit omne serpentum genus, 
congerit in unum frugis infaustae mala, 
quaecumque generat invius saxis Eryx, 
quae fert opertis hieme perpetua iugia 
sparsus cruore Caucasus Pi-omethei, 
et quis sagittas divites Arabes linunt 711 

pliaretraque pugnax Medus aut Parthi leves, .710 
aut quos sub axe frigido sucos legunt 712 

lucis Suebae nobiles Hyrcaniis; 
quodcumque tellus vere nidifico creat 
aut rigida cum iam bruma discussit decus 
nemorum et nivali cuncta constrinxit gelu, 
quodcumque gramen flore mortifero viret, 
quicumque tortis sucus in radicibus 
causas nocendi gignit, attrectat mauu. 



deepest eartli begets ; from heaven will I seek 
my poisons. Now, now is the time to set in motion 
some plan deeper than common guile. Hither let 
that serpent ^ descend which lies like a vast rushing 
stream, whose huge folds the two beasts ^ feel, the 
greater and the less (the greater used ^ by Pelas- 
gians ; by Sidonians, the less ) ; let Ophiuchus at 
length relax his choking grip and give the poison vent; 
in answer to my incantations let Python come, who 
dared to attack the twin divinities.* Let Hydra 
return and every serpent cut off by the hand of 
Hercules, restoring itself by its own destruction.^ 
Thou, too, ever-watchful dragon,* quitting the 
Colchians, come thou to my aid, thou who through 
my incantations wast first lulled to slumber." 

'°^ When she had summoned forth the whole tribe 
of serpents, she assembled her evil store of baleful 
herbs. Whatever trackless Eryx produces on his 
rocky slopes ; plants that grow on heights clothed 
in unbroken winter, the heights of Caucasus, spat- 
tered with Prometheus' gore ; plants wherewith the 
rich Arabians smear their arrows, and the bold Mede, 
girt with his quiver, or the light-armed Parthians ; or 
those juices which, under the cold pole, high-born 
Sueban women gather in Hyrcanian groves ; what- 
ever the earth produces in the nest-building spring- 
time or when frozen winter has stripped the woods 
of their glory and bound all things Mith icy fetters ; 
all plants that bloom with deadly flower, and all 
whose juices breed cause of death in their twisted 

^ The conslellation Draco, winding between the two Bears. 
- The Bears. 

* i.e. as a fixed point in sailing. 

* Apollo and Diana. * See Index s.v. "Hydra." 

* Which guarded the golden fleece. 

I T 289 

Haemonius illas contulit pestes Athos, 720 

has Pintlus ingeiis, ilia Pangaei iugis 
teneram cruenta falce deposuit coinam ; 
has aluit altum gurgitem Tigris premens, 
Danuvius illasj has per areutes plagas 
tepidis Hydaspes gemmifer currens aquis, 
nomenque terris qui dedit Baetis suis 
Hesperia pulsans maria languenti vado. 
haec passa ferrum est^ dum parat Phoebus diem ; 
illius alta nocte succisus frutex ; 
at huius ungue secta cantato seges. 730 

Mortifera carpit gramina ac serpentium 
saniem exprlmit miscetque et obscenas aves 
maestique cor bubonis et raucae strigis 
exsecta vivae viscera, haec scelerum artifex 
discreta ponit ; his rapax vis ignium, 
his gelida pigri frigoris glacies inest. 
addit venenis verba non ilHs minus 
metuenda. — sonuit ecce vesano gradu 
canitque. mundus vocibus primis treinit. 


Comprecor vulgus silentum vosque ferales deos 740 

et Chaos caecum atque opacam Ditis umbrosi doiiium, 

Tartari ripis ligatos squalidae Mortis specus.^ 

supph'cis, animaCj remissis currite ad thalamos novos : 

rota resistat membra torquens, tangat Ixion humumj 

Tantalus securus undas hauriat Pirenidas. 745 

^ Peifer puts full stop after domum, and corrects ligatae 
squalido : M specu | supplicis . . . 



roots — all these she handles. Haemoiiian Athos con- 
tributed those baneful herbs, these, mighty Phidus ; 
on the ridges of Paugaeus that plant was lopped of 
its tender foliage with a bloody sickle ; these Tigris 
fed, checking his deep flood the while ; the Danube, 
those ; these, gem-studded Hydaspes, flowing with 
warm waters through thirsty tracts, and the Baetis, 
which gave its name to its own country,^ pushing 
into the western sea with languorous flood. These 
plants felt the knife while Phoebus was making 
ready the day ; the shoot of that was clipped at mid- 
night ; while this was severed by finger-nail with 
muttered charm. 

'^^ She seizes death-dealing herbs, squeezes out 
serpents' venom, and with these mingles unclean 
birds, the heart of a boding owl, and a hoarse screech- 
owl's vitals cut out alive. Other objects the mistress 
of evil arts lays out, arranged in separate heaps ; in 
some is the ravening power of fire ; in others numb- 
ing frost's icy cold. She adds to her poisons words, 
no less fearsome than they. — But listen, her frenzied 
step has sounded, and she chants her incantations 
All nature shudders as she be^ns her sonsr. 

[EfUer UEDEA, singing an incantation.'\ 


I supplicate the throng of the silent, and you, 
funereal gods, murky Chaos and shadowy Dis' da'-k 
dwelling-place, the abysses of dismal Death, girt by 
the banks of Tartarus. Leaving your punishments, 
ye ghosts, haste to the new nuptials ; let the wheel 
stop that is whirling his body, and Ix;on stand 00 
earth ; let Tantalus in peace drink his fill of the 

Provincia Bactica, Id Spain. 


vos quoque, urnis quas foratis inritus ludit labor, 74-8 
Danaides, coite : vestras hie dies quaerit manus. 749 
gravior uni poena sedeat coniugis socero mei : 746 
lubricus per saxa retro Sisyphum volvat lapis. ^ 747 
Nunc meis vocata sacris, noctium sidus, veni 750 
pessimos induta vultus, fronte non una minax. 

Tibi more gentis vinculo solvens comam 
secreta nudo nemora lustra vi pede 
et evocavi nubibus siccis aquas 
egique ad imum maria, et Oceanus graves 
interius undas aestibus victis dedit ; 
pariterque mundus lege confusa aetheris 
et solem et astra vidit, et vetitum mare 
tetigistis, ursae. temporum flexi vices : 
aestiva tellus floniit cantu meo, 760 

coacta messem vidit hibernam Ceres ; 
violenta Phasis vertit in fontem vada 
et Hister, in tot ora divisus, tnices 
compressit undas omnibus ripis piger. 
sonuere fluctus, tumuit insanum mare 
tacente vento ; nemoris antiqui domus 
amisit umbras, vocis imperio meae 
die reducto ; Phoebus in medio stetit 
Hyadesque nostris cantibus motae labant: 
adesse sacris tempus est, Phoebe, tuis. 770 

' The transposed order of U. 74G-749 is Bathe's : Richter 
follows this : Leo, the traditional order. 



Pirenian spring. You, too, whom a fruitless toil 
mocks -with urns full of holes, ye Danaids, come 
hither : this day needs your hands. On one alone, my 
lord's new father, let a penalty rest heavier — let the 
slippery stone roll Sisyphus^ backward o'er the rocks. 

'50 Now, summoned by my sacred rites, do thou,' 
orb of the night, put on thy most evil face and come, 
threatening in all thy forms, 3 

'52 For thee, loosing my hair from its bands after 
the manner of my people, with bare feet have I 
trod the secret groves and called forth rain from the 
dry clouds ; I have driven the seas back to their 
lowest depths, and the Ocean, his tides outdone, 
has sent his crushing waves farther into the land ; 
and in like manner, with heaven's law confounded, 
the world has seen both sun and stars together, and 
you, ye bears, have bathed in the forbidden sea.* 
The order of the seasons have I changed : the summer 
land has blossomed 'neath my magic song, and by my 
compelling Ceres has seen harvest in winter-time ; 
Phasis has turned his swift waters backward to their 
source, and Hister, divided mto many mouths, has 
checked his boisterous streams and flowed sluggishly 
in all his beds. The waves have roared, the mad sea 
swelled, though the winds were still ; the heart of the 
ancient woods has lost its shadows, when the bright 
day has come back to them at commandment of my 
voice ; Phoebus has halted in mid-heaven, and the 
H yades, moved by my incantations, totter to their fall. 
The hour is at hand, O Phoebe, for thy sacred rites. 
[She offers various gifts to hecate.] 

^ Sisyphus was father of Creon, and he alone is not to bo 
relieved of his toil. This toil is even to be increased, and so 
bring greater anguish to Creon. 

* Hecate as the moon-goddess. 

' Kecnte'is triformis, triceps. * See Index j.v. " Bear?." 



Tibi haec cruenta serta texuntur manu, 

novena quae serpens ligat, 
tibi haec Typlioeus membra quae discors tulit, 

qui regna concussit lovis. 
vectoris istic perfidi sanguis inest, 

quem Nessus expirans dedit. 
Oetaeus isto cinere defecit rogns, 

qui virus Herculeum bibit. 
piae sororis^ impiae matris, facem 

ultricis Althaeae vides. 780 

reliquit isfcis invio plumas specu 

Harpyia, dum Zeten fugit. 
his adice pinnas sauciae Stymphah'dos 

Lernaea passae spicula. 
sonuistis, arae, tripodas agnosco nieos 

favente commotos dea. 

Video Triviae eurrus agiles, 
non quos pleno lucida vultu 
pernox agitat, sed quos facie 
lurida maesta, cum Thessalicis 790 

vexata minis caelum freno 
propiore legit, sic face tristera 
pallida lucem funde per auras, 
horrore novo terre populos 
inque auxilium, Dictynna, tuum 
pretiosa sonent aera Corinth i. 
tibi sanguineo caespite sacrum 
sollemne damus, tibi de medio 
rapta sepulchro fax nocturnes 
sustidit ignes, tibi mota caput 800 

flexa voces cervice dedi, 
tibi funereo de more iacens 
passos cingit vitta capillos. 




^^ To thee I offer these wreaths wrought with 
bloody hands, each entwined with nine serpent coils ; 
to thee, these serpent limbs which rebellious Ty- 
phoeus wore, who caused Jove's throne to tremble. 
In this is the blood which Nessus, that traitor ferry- 
man, bestowed as he expired. With these ashes the 
pyre on Oeta sank down which drank in the poisoned 
blood of Hercules. Here thou seest the billet ^ of 
a pious sister but impious mother, Althaea, the 
avenger. These feathers the Harpy left in her track- 
less lair when she fled from Zetes. Add to these 
the quills of the wounded Stymphalian bird which 
felt the darts of Lerna.^ — You have given forth your 
voice, ye altars ; I see my tripods shaken by the 
favouring deity. 

'^' I see Trivia's swift gliding car, not as when, 
radiant, with full face, she drives the livelong night, 
but as when, ghastly, with mournful aspect, harried 
by Thessalian threats, she skirts with nearer rein the 
edge of heaven. So do thou wanly shed from thy torch 
a gloomy light through air ; terrify the peoples with 
new dread, and let precious Corinthian bronzes re- 
sound, Dictynna, to thy aid.^ To thee on the altar's 
bloody turf we perform thy solemn rites ; to thee a 
torch caught up from the midst of a funeral pyre has 
illumed the night ; to thee, tossing my head and 
with bended neck, I have uttered my magic words ; 
for thee a fillet, lying in funeral fashion, binds my 
flowing locks ; to thee is brandished the gloomy 

' See Index t.v. "Althaea." 

• i.e. the arrows of Hercules, poisoned with the gall of the 
Lernaean hydra. 

• The moon in eclipse was supposed to be suflFering under 
the spell of magic, wliich spell might be renioTed bj beating 
on brazen vessels and by making other loud noists. 


tibi iactatur tristis Stygia 

ramus ab uiida, tibi nudato 

pectore maenas sacro feriam 

bracchia cultro. manet noster 

sanguis ad aras ; assuesce, maniis, 

stringere ferrum carosque pati 

posse cruores — sacrum laticem 810 

percussa dedi. 

Quodsi nimium saepe vocari 
quereris votis, igiiosce precor ; 
causa vocandi, Persei, tuos 
saepius arcus una atque eadem est 
semper, lason. 

Tu nunc vestes tinge Creusae, 
quas cum primum sumpserit, imas 
urat serpens flamma medullas, 
ignis fulvo clusiis in auro 820 

latet obscurus, quem mihi caeli 
qui furta luit viscere feto 
dedit et docuit condere vires 
arte, Prometheus, dedit et tenui 
sulphure tectos Mulciber ignes, 
et vivacis fulgura flammae 
de cognato Phaethonte tuli. 
habeo mediae dona Chimaerae, 
habeo flammas usto tauri 
gutture raptas, quas permixto 830 

felle Medusae tacitum iussi 
servare malum. 

Adde venenis stimulos, Hecate, 
donisque meis semina flammae 
condita serva. fallant visus 
tactusque ferant, meet in pectus 

1 Of the yew or C)'pres.s, trees naturally connected with 
death and the world of death. 


branch ^ from the Stygian stream ; to thee with 
bared breast will I as a maenad smite my arms with 
the sacrificial knife. Let my blood flow upon the 
altars ; accustom thyself, my hand, to draw the sword 
and endure the sight of beloved blood. [^Ske slashes 
her arm and lets the blood Jlorv upon the aliar.^ Self- 
smitten have I poured forth the sacred stream. 

*^* But if thou complainest that too often thou art 
called on by my prayers, pardon, I pray ; the cause, 
O Perses' daughter,^ of my too oft calling on thy 
bows is one and the same ever, Jason. 

^^' Do thou now [she takes a phial] poison Creusa's 
robe that, when she has donned it, the creeping 
flame may consume her inmost marrow. Within 
this tawny gold [she takes a casket] lurks fire, darkly 
hid ; Prometheus gave it me, even he who expiates 
with ever-growing liver his theft from heaven, and 
taught me by his art how to store up its powers. 
Mulcibcr hath also given me fires which subtly lurk 
in sulphur ; and bolts of living flame I took from my 
kinsman, 3 Phaethon. 1 have gifts from Chimaera's 
middle part,* I have flames caught from the bull's 
scorched throat, which, well mixed with Medusa's 
gall, I have bidden to guard their bane in silence. 

8^3 Give sting to my poisons, Hecate, and in my gifts 
keep hidden the seeds of fire. Let them cheat the 
sight, let them endure the touch ; let burning fire 

* i.e. Hecate ; the bow is t\-pical of her aid in magic. 

' Both Medea and Phaethon were descended from Phoebus. 

* i.e. the goat part, which vomited fire. 


venasque calor, stillent artus 
ossaque fument viiicatque suas 
flagrante coma nova nupta faces. 

Vota tenentur ; ter latratus 840 

audax Hecate dedit et sacros 
edidit ignes face lucifera. 

Peracta vis est omnis ; hue natos voca, 
pretiosa per quos dona nubenti feras. 
ite, ite, nati, matris infaustae genus, 
placate vobis munere et multa prece 
dominam ac novercam. vadite et celeres domum 
refer te gressus, ultimo amplexu ut fruar. 


Quonam cruenta maenas 
praeceps amore saevo 850 

rapitur ? quod impotenti 
facinus parat furore ? 
vultus citatus ira 
riget et caput feroci 
quatiens superba motu 
regi minatur ultro. 
quis credat exulem ? 

Flagrant genae rubentes, 
pallor fugat ruborem^ 
nullum vagante forma 860 

servat diu colorem. 
hue fert pedes et illuc, 
ut tigris orba natis 
cursu fiirente lustrat 
Gangeticum nemus. 


penetrate to heart and veins ; let her limbs melt 
and her bones consume in smoke, and with her 
blazing locks let the bride outshine her wedding 

**• My prayers are heard : thrice has bold Hecate 
bayed loud, and has raisf d her accursed fire with its 
baleful light. 

^^ Xow all my power is marshalled ; hither call my 
sons that by their hands thou mayst send these costly 
gifts unto the bride. 

[medea's sons are brought in.'\ 

Go, go, my sons, born of an ill-starred mother, win 
to yourselves by means of gifts and much beseeching 
your mistress and stepmother. Begone and quickly 
come you home again, that I may enjoy one last 

[Exettnt sons towards the palace ; medea in the 
opposite direction.^ 

Whither is this blood-stained maenad borne head- 
long by mad passion .'' What crime with reckless 
fury is she preparing? Her distraught face is hard 
set in anger, and with fierce tossings of her head 
she haughtily threatens e'en the king. Who would 
think her an exile ."^ 

^8 Her cheeks blaze red, pallor puts red to flight ; 
no colour in her changing aspect does she keep long. 
Hither and thither she wanders, as a tigress, robbed 
of her cubs, ranges in mad course through the jungles 
of Ganges. 



Frenare nescit iras 
Medea, non amores ; 
nunc ira amorque causam 
iunxere ; quid sequetur ? 
quando efFeret Pelasgis 870 

nefanda Colchis arvis 
gressum metuque solvet 
regnum simulque reges ? 
nunc, Phoebe, mitte currus 
nullo morante loro, 
nox condat alma lucem, 
mergat diem timendum 
dux noctis Hesperus, 


Periere cuncta ! concidit regni status ! 
nata atque genitor cinere permixto iacent. 


Qua fraud e capti ? 


Qua Solent reges capi— 


In illis esse quis potuit dolus ? 


Et ipse miror vixque iam facto male 
potuisse fieri credo, quis cladis modus ? 
avidus per omnem regiae partem furit 
ut iussus ignis ; iam domus tota occidit, 
urbi timetur. 



^'' How to curb her anger Medea knows not, nor 
yet her love ; now that anger and love have joined 
cause, what will the outcome be ? When will the 
wicked Colchian be gone from the Pelasgian borders 
and free from terror at once our kingdom and our 
kings ? Now, O Phoebus, speed thy chariot with 
no check of rein ; let friendly darkness veil the light, 
and let Hesperus, vanguard of the night, plunge 
deep this fearful day. 

[Enter messenger, running from the direction 
of the palace."] 


All is lost ! The kingdom's props have fallen 
Daughter and father in commingled ashes lie. 


By what snare taken ? 


By the common snare of kings — by gifts. 


What snare could have been in them ? 


Myself, I also marvel, and, though the woeful 
thing is done, can scarce believe it could be done. 
What stay is there to ruin .'' The greedy fire rages 
through the palace's every part as if 'twere bidden 
so. Already the whole house has fallen, the city is 
in peril. 




Vnda Hammas oppiimat. 


Et hoc in ista clade mirandum accidit : 
alit unda flammas, quoque prohibetur magis, 
magis ardet ignis ; ipsa praesidia occupat. 890 


Effer citatum sede Pelopea gradum, 
Medea^ praeceps quaslibet teiTas pete. 


Egone ut recedam ? si profugissem prius, 
ad hoc redirem. nuptias specto novas, 
quidj anime, cessas ? sequere fehcem im^jetum. 
pars ultionis ista, qua gaudes, quota est ? 
amas adhue, furiose, si satis est tibi 
caelebs lason. quaere poenarum genus 
haut usitatum iamque sic temet para : 
fas omne cedat, abeat expulsus pudor ; 900 

vindicta levis est quam ferunt purae mauus. 
iiicumbe in iras teque languentem excita 
penitusque veteres pectore ex imo impetus 
violentus hauri. quidquid admissum est adhuc, 
pietas vocetur. hoc age et faxis sciant 
quam levia fuermt quaraque vulgaris notae 



Let water put out the flames. 


Nay, in this disaster this marvel, too, has happened : 
water feeds the flames, and the more 'tis checked, 
the more fiercely burns the fire ; the very defences ^ 
does it seize upon. 

[Enler medea, m time to hear the last tvords.^ 


Quickly begone, Medea, from the land of Pelops ; 
seek headlong any land thou wilt 1 


What I — shall I give ground ? Nay, had I fled 
already, for this I should return. Strange nuptials 
see I here. 

[She becomes absorbed in her own thoughts.] 
Why, soul, dost falter? Follow up the attack so 
well begun. How small a part of thy vengeance 
is that in which thou art rejoicing ! Thou dost love 
him still, mad one, if 'tis enough for thee that Jason 
wifeless be. Seek thou some unaccustomed form 
of chastisement, and now thus prepare thyself: let 
all right give way ; let honour begone, defeated ; light 
is the rod which innocent hands uplift. Bend to 
thine anger, rouse up thy halting purpose, and with 
all thy strength drain from thy heart's very depths 
its old-time violence. Let all that has yet been done 
be called but piety. To the task ; let them know 
how petty, of what common stamp, were the crimes 

^ Water, the natural defence against fire. 



quae commodavi scelera. prolusit dolor 

per ista noster; quid manus poterant rudes 

audere magnum ? quid puellaris furor ? 

Medea nunc sum; crevit ingenium malis. 910 

luvat, iuvat rapuisse fraternum caput ; 
artus iuvat secuisse at areano patrem 
sjjoliasse sacro, iuvat in exitium senis 
armasse natas. quaere materiam, dolor ; 
ad omne facinus non rudem dextram afferes. 

Quo te igitur, ira, mittis, aut quae perfido 
intendis hosti tela ? nescio quid ferox 
decrevit animus intus et nondum sibi 
audet fateri. stulta properavi nimis — 
ex paelice utinam liberos hostis mens 920 

aliquos haberet ! quidquid ex illo tuum est, 
Creusa peperit. placuit hoc poenae genus, 
meritoque placuit ; ultimum, agnosco, scelus 
animo parandum est. liberi quondam mei, 
vos pro paternis sceleribus poenas date. 

Cor pepulit horror, membra torpescunt gelu 
pectusque ti'emuit. ira discessit loco 
materque tota coniuge expulsa redit. 
egone ut meorum liberum ac prolis meae 
fundam cruorem ? melius, a, demens furor ! 930 
incognitum istud facinus ac dirum nefas 
a me quoque absit ; quod scelus miseri luent ? 
scelus est lason genitor et maius scelus 
Medea mater, occidant, non sunt mei ; 
pereant — mei sunt, crimine et culpa carent, 


1 wrought to serve him. In them my grief was but 
practising ; what great deed had prentice hands the 
power to do ? What, a girl's rage ? Now I am 
Medea ; my wit has grown through suffering. 

^11 Glad am I, glad, that I tore off my brother's 
head, glad that I carved his limbs, that I robbed 
my father of his guarded treasure,^ glad that I 
armed daughters ^ for an old man's death. Seek 
thou fresh fields, my grief; no untrained hand wilt 
thou bring to any crime. 

*?^ Whither, then, wrath, art tending, or what 
weapons art thou aiming at the forsworn foe ? ^ A 
dark purpose my fierce spirit hath resolved within 
me, and dares not yet acknowledge to itself. Fool ! 
fool ! I have gone too fast — would that mine enemy 
had children by his paramour ! [She pauses and then 
addresses herself.^ All offspring that thou hast by 
him are Creusa's brood. Resolved is this way of 
vengeance, rightly resolved ; for a last deed of guilt, 
1 see it now, must my soul make ready. Children 
that once were mine, do you pay penalty for your 
father's crimes. 

^■-^ Horror has smit my heart ! My limbs are numb 
with cold and my heart with terror flutters. Wrath 
has given place ; the mother has all come back, the 
wife is banished. Can I shed my children's, my own 
offspring's blood } Ah, mad rage, say not so ! Far, 
even from me, be that unheard-of deed, that accursed 
guilt! What sin will the poor boys atone? Their 
sin is that Jason is their father, and, greater sin, that 
Medea is their mother. [She pauses.^ Let them die, 
they are none of mine ; let them be lost — they are my 
own. They are without crime and guilt, yea, they are 

^ The golden fleece. * i.e. of Pelias. ' Jason. 

I u 305 

sunt innocentes — fateor, et frater fuit. 
quid, aninie, titubas ? ora quid lacrimae rigant 
variamque nunc hue ira, nunc illuc amor 
diducit ? anceps aestus incertam rapit ; 
ut saeva rapidi bella cum venti gerunt 94>0 

utrimque fluctiis maria discordes agunt 
dubiumque fervet pelagus, haul aliter meum 
cor fluctuatur. ira pietatem fugat 
iramque pietas. cede pietati, dolor. 

Hue, eara proles, unicum afflictae donius 
solamen, hue vos ferte et infusos mihi 
coniungite artus. habeat incolumes pater, 
dum et mater habeat. urguet exilium ac fuga. 
iam iam meo rapientur avulsi e sinu, 
flentes, gementes oseulis. pereant patri, 950 

periere matri. rursus increscit dolor 
et fervet odium, repetit invitam manum 
antiqua Erinys. ira, qua ducis, sequor. 
utinam superbae turba Tantalidos meo 
exisset utero bisque septenos parens 
natos tulissem ! sterilis in poenas fui^ 
fratri patrique quod sat est, peperi duos. 

Quonam ista tendit turba Furiarum impotens ? 
quem quaerit aut quo flammeos ictus parat, 
aut cui cruentas agmen infemum faces 960 

intentat ? ingens anguis exciisso sonat 
tortus flagello. quem trabe infesta petit 
Megaera ? cuius umbra dispersis venit 
incerta membris ? frater est, poenas petit 


innocent — I acknowledge it ; so, too, was my brother. 
Why, soul, dost hesitate? Why are my cheeks 
wet with tears ? Why do anger and love now 
hither, now thither draw my changeful heart? A 
double tide tosses me, uncertain of my course ; as 
when rushing winds wage mad warfare, and from 
both sides conflicting floods lash the seas and the 
fluctuating waters boil, even so is my heart tossed. 
Anger puts love to flight, and love, anger. O wrath, 
yield thee to love. 

'^o Hither, dear children, sole comfort of my fallen 
house, come hither and link your entwining limbs 
with mine. Let your father have you unharmed, so 
but your mother may have you too. But exile and 
flight press hard upon me; now, now will they be 
torn from my bosom and carried away from me, 
midst tears and sighs and kisses. — Let them be 
lost to their father ; they are' lost to me. My 
grief grows again and my hate burns hot ; Erinys, 
as of old, claims my unwilling hand. O wrath, 
where thou dost lead I follow. I would that from my 
womb the throng of proud Niobe had sprung, and 
that I had been the mother of twice seven sons ! 
Too barren have I been for vengeance — yet for my 
brother and my father there is enough, for I have 
borne two sons. 

^58 Whither hastes that headlong horde of Furies? 
Whom seek they ? Against whom are they preparing 
their flaming blows ? Whom does the hellish host 
threaten with its bloody brands? A huge snake 
hisses, whirled with the writhing lash. Whom does 
Megaera seek with her deadly torch ? Whose shade 
comes there dimly seen, its limbs all scattered ? It 
is my brother, and 'tis punishment he seeks. We'll 
pay, yes, all the debt. Plunge your brands into 


dabimuSj sed omnes. fige luminibus faces, 
lania, perure, pectus en Furiis patet. 

Discedere a me, frater, ultrices deas 
manesque ad imos ire securas iube ; 
mihi me relinque et utere hac, frater, manu 
quae strinxit ensem — victima manes tuos 970 

placamus ista. — quid repens affert sonus ? 
parantur arma meque in exitium petunt. 
excelsa nostrae tecta conscendam domus 
caede incohata. perge tu mecum comes, 
tuum quoque ipsa corpus hinc mecum aveham. 
nunc hoc age, anime ; non in occulto tibi est 
perdenda virtus ; ajfproba populo manum. 


Quicumque regum cladibus fidus doles, 
concurre, ut ipsam sceleris auctorem horridi 
capiamus. hue, hue fortis armiferi cohoi's 980 

confer te tela, vertite ex imo domum. 


lam iam recepi sceptra germanum pat rem, 
spoliumque Colchi pecudis auratae tenent ; 
rediere regna, rapta virginitas redit. 
o placida tandem numina, o festum diem, 
o nuptialem ! vade, perfectum est scelus ; 


my eyes, tear, burn ; see, my breast is open to 
the Furies. 

^^' O brother, bid the avenging goddesses depart 
from me, and go in peace to the deep-buried ghosts ; 
to myself leave me and use this hand, brother, 
which has drawn tlie sword — [She slays thejirsl son.^ 
With this victim I appease thy ghost. — What means 
that sudden noise .■* 'Tis arms they are making 
ready, and they seek me for my slaying. To the 
lofty roof of our palace will I mount, now the bloody 
work hath been begun. [To her remaining son.] Do 
thou come with me. [To her dead son.] Thy corpse 
also will I take hence with me. Now to the task, 
O soul ; not in secrecy must thy great deed be lost ; 
to the people approve thy handiwork. 

[Ejcit MEDEA, carrying the body of her dead son and 

leading the living. Enter jason in the street below 

shouting to the citizens.^ 


Ye faithful souls, who mourn your princes' doom, 
rally to me that we may take the author herself 
of this dread crime. Here, here, my brave band 
of warriors, bring weapons, raze this house to the 
very ground. 


[Appearing on the house-top,^ 

Now, now have I regained my regal state, my 
brother, my sire ; and the G)lchians have once more 
the spoil of the golden fleece ; restored is my king- 
dom, my ravished virginity is restored. Oh, divinities, 
at last propitious, oh, festal day, oh, nuptial day ! On ! 
the crime is accomplished ; but vengeance is not yet 


vindicta nondum ; perage, dum faciunt manus. 
quid nunc moraris, aiiime ? quid dubitas potens ? 
iam cecidit ira. paenitet facti, pudet. 
quid, misera, feci ? misera ? paeniteat licet, 990 
feci, voluptas magna me invitam subit, 
et ecce crescit. derat hoc unum mihi, 
spectator iste. nil adhuc facti reor ; 
quidquid sine isto fecimus sceleris perit. 


En ipsa tecti parte praecij)iti imminct. 
hue rapiat ignes aliquis, ut flammis cadat 
suis perusta. 


Congere extreraum tuis 
natis, lason, funus^ ac tumulum strue ; 
coniunx socerque iusta iam functis habent, 
a me sepulti ; natus hie fatum tulit, 1000 

hie te vidente dabitur exitio pari. 


Per numen omne perque communes fugas 
torosque, quos non nostra violavit fides, 
iam parce nato. si quod est crimen, meum est ; 
me dedo morti ; noxium macta caput. 


Hac qua recusas, qua doles, ferrum exigam. 
i nunc, superbe, virginum thalamos pete, 
relinque matres. 


complete ; be done with it while thy hands are still 
about it. Why dost thou delay now, O soul ? Why 
hesitate, though thou canst do it ? Now has my 
wrath died within me. I am sorry for my act, 
ashamed. What, wretched woman, have I done ? — 
wretched, say I .'' Though I repent, yet have I done 
it I Great joy steals on me 'gainst my wdl, and 
lo, it is increasing. [^She catches sight of jason in the 
crowd below.] This one thing I lacked, that yon man 
should behold. Naught have I done as yet ; what- 
ever crime I've done is lost imless he see it. 

JASON [discovering her] 
See, there she is herself, leaning over the sheer 
battlement ! Someone bring fire that she may fall 
consumed by her own flames. 


Nay, Jason, heap up for thy sons their last 
funeral pyre ; build them a tomb. Thy wife and 
father have already the services due the dead, buried 
by me ; this son has met his doom, and this shall 
suffer like fate before thy eyes. 

By all the gods, by our flight together, by our 
marriage couch, to which I have not been faithless, 
spare the boy. If there is any guilt, 'tis mine. I 
give myself up to death ; destroy my guilty head. 


Here^ where thou dost forbid it, where it will 
grieve thee, will I plunge the sword. Go now, haughty 
man, take thee maids for wives, abandon mothers. 
* In the body of the living son. 




Vnus est poenae satis 


Si posset una caede satiari haec manus, 
mil lam petisset. ut duos perimam^ tamen 1010 

nimium est dolori nuraerus angustus meo. 
in matre si quod pignus etiaranunc latet^ 
scrutabor ense viscera et ferro extraham.^ 


lam perage coeptum facinus — haut ultra precor, 
moramque saltern supplicis dona meis. 


Perfruere lento scelere, ne propera, dolor: 
meus dies est ; tempore accepto utimur. 


Infesta, memet perime. 


Misereri iubes — 
bene est, peractum est. plura non habui, dolor, 
quae tibi litarem. lumina hue tumida alleva, 1020 
ingrate lason. coniugem agnoscis tuam ? 
sic fugere soleo. patuit in caelimi via : 
squamosa gemini colla serpentes iugo 

' Leo deletes these two lines. 



One is enough for punishment. 

If this hand could be satisfied with the death of 
one, it would have sought no death at all. Though I 
slay two, still is the count too small to appease my 
grief. If in my womb there still lurk any pledge of 
thee, I'll search my very vitals with the sword and 
hale it forth. 


Now end what thou hast begun — I make no more 
entreaty — and at least spare ^ my sufferings this 


Enjoy a slow revenge, hasten not, my grief; mine 
i-, the day ; we are but using the allotted ^ time. 


O heartless one, slay me. 


Thou biddst me pity — [She slays the second son.'] 
'Tis well, 'tis done. I had no more atonement to 
offer thee, O grief Lift thy tear-swollen eyes 
hither, ungrateful Jason. Dost recognize thy wife ? 
'Tis thus ^ I am wont to flee. A way through the 
air has opened for me ; two serpents offer their scaly 

^ Translating dona in the sense of remitte. 

* i.e. Creon had granted Medea this whole day for her own 
in Corinth. 

' By means of a dragon-drawn car which now appears in 
the air. 


summissa praebent. recipe iam natos, parens ; 
ego inter auras aliti curru vehar. 


Per alta vade spatia sublimi aetliere ; 
testare iiullos esse, qua veheris, deos. 




necks bending to the yoke. Now, father, take back 
thy sons. [She throws the bodies domn to him.\ I 
through the air on my winged car shall ride. 

\She mounts the car and is borne aivay.^ 

JASON \calling after her'\ 

Go on through the lofty spaces of high heaven 
and bear witness, where thou ridest, that there are 
'.lo gods. 






HiPi'OLYTDS, son of Theseus and Antiope, an Aviazon. 

Phaedra, vnfe of Theseus and stepmother of Uippolytus. 

Theseos, king of Athens. 

NUESE of Phaedra. 


Slaves and Attendants. 

Chorus of Athenian citizens. 

The Scene is laid througliout in the court in front of the 
royal palace at Athena, and the action is confined to the 
space of one day. 


Theseus had wed Antiope, the Amazon, and of their 
union had been bom Hippolytiis. This youth grew up to 
love the chase, austere aiid beautiful, shunitiug the haunts 
of men and scorning the love of women. Theseus had 
meanwhile slain Antiope, and married Phaedra, Cretan 
Minos' child. 

And now, for four years past, the king has not been 
seen upon the earth, for, following the mad adventure 
of his bosom fiend, ririlhous, he has descended into 
Tartarus to help him steal away its queen, and thence, 
men think, he never will return. 

Deserted by her lord, the hapless Phaedra has con- 
ceived a hopeless passion for H ip poly tus ; for Venus, 
mindful of her old amour with Mars, which Phaedra's 
ancestor, Apollo, had exposed, has .sent this madness on 
her, even as Pasipha'e, her mother, had been cursed with 
a most mad and fatal malady. 



Ite, umbrosas cingite silvas 
summaque montis iuga, Cecropii! 
celeri planta lustrate vagi 
quae saxosae loca Parnetho 
subiecta iacent, quae Thriasiis 
vallibus aumis rapid a cuirens 
verberat unda, scandite colics 
semper canos nive Rhipaea ; 
hac, hac alii qua nemus alta 

texitur alno, qua prata iacent 10 

quae rorifera mulcens aura 
Zephyrus vernas evocat herbas, 
ubi per graciles levis Ilisos ^ 13 

labitur agros piger et steriles 15 

amne maligno radit harenas. 

Vos qua Marathon tramite laevo 
saltus aperit, qua comitatae 
gregibus parvis nocturna petunt 
pabula fetae ; vos qua tepidis 20 

subditus austris frigora mollit 
durus Acharneus. 

Alius rupem dulcis Hymetti, 
parvas alius calcet Aphidnas ; 
pars ilia diu vacat immunis, 

' Leo deletes I. 14: ubi Maeander super inaequales. 




[In the early morning, in the palace couH at Athens. 
Enter hippolytl's with a large company of hunts- 
men armed nith the various neapons of the hunt, 
and leading numerous dogs in leash, hippolytus 
proceeds to assign the various tasks of the day to his 

Go, girdle the shadowy woods and the topmost 
rid^res of the mount, ye sons of Cecrops ! With nimble 
feet wide wandering, scour the coverts that lie 'neath 
rocky Fames and in the vale of Thria, whose swift- 
flowing stream lashes its banks ; climb the hills ever 
white with Rhipean snow. Here, here let others 
hie, where the tall alder-thickets fringe the grove, 
where meadows lie which Zephyr soothes with his 
dew-laden breath and calls forth the herbage of the 
spring, where scant Ilissos flows sluggishly along 
through meagre fields, and with ungenerous stream 
creeps o'er unfruitful sands. 

'' Go ye by the left path where Marathon opens out 
her forest glades, where with their small following 
the suckling mothers seek nightly forage ; and ye, 
where rugged Acharneus tempers his frosts beneath 
the warm south-wind. 

23 Let one tread sweet Hymettus' cliff, another, 
small Aphiduae ; too long unharried is that spot 


qua curvati litora ponti 

Sunion urget. si quern tangit 

gloria silvae, vocat bunc Phlye * 

hie versatur, metus agricolis, 

vulnere multo iam notus aper. 30 

At vos laxas canibus tacitis 
mittite habenas ; teneant acres 
lora Molossos et pugnaces 
tendant Cretes fortia trito 
vincula collo. 

at Spartanos (genus est audax 
avidumque ferae) nodo cautus 
propiore liga. veniet tempus, 
cum latratu cava saxa sonent ; 
iiunc demissi nare sagaci 

captent auras lustraque presso 40 

quaerant rostro, dum lux dubia est, 
dum signa pedum roscida tellus 
impressa tenet. 

Alius raras cervice gravi 
povtare plagas, alius teretes 
properet laqucos. picta rubenti 
linea pinna vano cludat 
terrore feras. 

tibi vibretur missile telum, 
tu grave dextra laevaque simul 
robur lato dirige ferro^ 
tu praecipites clamore feras 
subsessor ages ; tu iam victor 
curvo solves viscera cultro. 

Ades en comiti, diva virago, 
cuius regno pars terrarum 
secreta vacat, cuius certis 
petitur talis fera quae gelidum 
1 So Leo : Flius MSS. 



where Sunium thrusts out the shores of the curving 
sea. If any feels the lure of the forest, Phlye calls 
for him ; there is the haunt of the boar, terror of 
husbandmen, famed by now for many a wound. 

3^ But do you cast off the leashes from the dogs 
that hunt in silence ; still let thongs hold the keen 
Molossians fast, and let the savage Cretans tug on 
the stout bonds with well-worn necks. But the 
Spartans (for their breed is bold and eager for the 
prey) hold in carefully with a tighter knot. The 
time will come when the hollow rocks will re-echo 
with their hayings ; now, with heads low-hung, let 
them snuff the air with keen nostrils, and with 
muzzles to earth quest through the forest haunts, 
while the light is still dim, while the dewy ground 
still retains the well-marked trail. 

** Let some of you make speed to load your necks 
*ith the heavy, wide-meshed nets, and others with 
the smooth-wrought snares. Let a line decked out 
with crimson feathers hedge the deer with empty 
terror. Thou shalt brandish the dart, thou with right 
and left hand together hurl the heavy oak-shaft with 
broad iron head ; do thou lie in hiding and with 
shouts drive the game on in headlong rush ; and thou, 
when victory is won, shalt free flesh from hide with 
thy curved hunting-knife. 

^* And do thou be with thy follower, O manlike 
goddess,^ for whose sovereignty earth's secret places 
are reserved, whose darts with unerring aim seek 

^ Diana. 



potat Araxen et quae stanti 

ludit ill Histro. tua Gaetulos 

dextra leones, tua Cretac as 60 

sequitur cervas ; nunc veloces 

figis dammas leviore nianu. 

tibi dant variae pectora tigres, 

tibi villosi terga bisontes 

latisque feri cornibus uri. 

quidquid solis pascitur arvis, 

sive illud Arabs divite silva 

sive illud inops novit Garamans 68 

vacuisque vagus ^ariuata cainpis,^ 7l 

sive ferocis iuga Pyrenes 6[) 

sive Hyrcani celant saltus, 70 

arcus metuit, Diana, tiios. 72 

tua si gratus numina cultor 

tulit in saltus, retia vinctas 

tenuere feras, iiulli laqueuin 

rupere pedes ; fertur plaustro 

praeda gementi ; tuni rostra caiies 

sanguine multo rubicunda geruiit 

repetitque casas rustica longo 

turba triumpho. 80 

En, diva, faves : signum arguti 
niisere canes, vocor in silvas. 
hac, hac pergam qua via longum 
compensat iter. 


O magna vasti Creta dominatrix freti, 
cuius per omne litus ini.umerae rates 
tenuere pontum,^ quidquid Assyria tenus 
tellure Nereus pervius rostris secat, 

^ Leo transposes I. 71 to follow I. 68. 
* Leo conjectures portus. 



out the prey wliich drinks of the cool Araxes or 
sports on Ister's frozen streams. Thy hand aims at 
Gaetuhan lions, thine at Cretan deer ; and now with 
hghter stroke dost thou pierce swift-fleeing does. 
The striped tigers face thee, but the shaggy-backed 
bisons flee, and the wild ox with wide-spreading horns. 
All things that feed in the lonely fields, wli ether the 
Arabian knows them in his rich forests, or the needy 
Garamantian and the wandering Sarmatian on his 
desert plains, whatever the heights of the rough 
Pyrenees or the Hyrcanian glades conceal, all fear 
thy bow, Diana. If, his ofl'erings paid, thy wor- 
shipper takes thy favour with him to the glades, his 
nets hold the tangled prey, no feet break through 
his snares ; his game is brought in on groaning wains, 
his hounds have their muzzles red with blood, aiid 
all the rustic throng come home in long triumphant 

^^ Lo, goddess, thou dost hear me : the shrill- 
tongued hounds have given the sign. I am sum- 
moned to the woods. Here, here I'll hasten by the 
shortest way. ^Exeunt. 

[Enler phaedra from the pa/nce.] 


O mighty Crete, the vast sea's mistress, whose 
countless vessels along every coast have held tlie 
deep, yea, whatever, lands, e'en to Assyria, making 


cur me in penates obsidem invisos datam 
liostique nuptam degere aetatem in malis 90 

lacrimisque cogis ? profugus en coniunx abest 
praestatque nuptae quam solet Theseus fidem. 
fortis per altas invii retro lacus 
vadit tenebras miles audacis proci, 
solio ut revulsam regis inferni abstraliat ; 
pergit furoris socius, haud ilium timor 
pudorque tenuit — stupra et illicitos toros 
Acheronte in imo quaerit Hippolyti pater. 

Sed maior alius incubat maestae dolor. 
non me quies nocturnaj non altus sopor 100 

solvere curls, alitur et crescit malum 
et ardet intus qiialis Aetnaeo vapor 
exuric'at antro. Palladis telae vacant 
et inter ipsas pensa labuntur manus ; 
non colere donis templa votivis libet, 
non inter aras^ Atthidum mixtam choris, 
iactare tacitis conscias sacris faces, 
nee adire castis precibus aut ritu pio 
adiudicatae praesidem terrae deam : 
iuvat excitatas consequi cursu feras 110 

et rigida molli gaesa iaculari manu. 

Quo tendis, anime .'' quid furens saltus amas .'' 
fatale miserae matris agnosco malum ; 
peccare noster novit in silvis amor, 
genetrix, tui me miseret ; infando male 


a path for the prows of ships, old Nereus cleaves — 
why dost thou force me here, given o'er to an 
enemy's house as hostage, wife to my foe, to spend 
my days in wretcliedness and weeping? Behold, fled 
is my lord afar and keeps his bridal oath as is the wont 
of Theseus. Through the deep shades of the pool 
which none recrosses is he faring, this brave recruit of 
a madcap suitor/ that from the very throne of the 
infernal king he may rob and bear away his wife. 
He hurries on, a partner in mad folly ; him nor fear 
nor shame held back. And there in the depths of 
Acheron he seeks adulterv and an unlawful bed, 
this father of Hippolytus.^ 

^® But another, greater smart burdens my woeful 
breast. No rest by night, no deep slumber frees 
me from care. A malady feeds and grows within my 
heart, and it burns there hot as the steam that wells 
from Aetna's caverns. Pallas' loom stands idle and 
my task slips from my listless hands ; no longer it 
pleases me to deck the temples with votive offer- 
ings, nor at the altars, midst bands of Athenian 
dames, to wave torches in witness of the silent rites, 
nor with pure prayers and pious worship to approach 
the goddess ^ who guards the land once granted to 
her ! My joy is to follow in pursuit of the startled 
beasts and with soft hand to hurl stiff javelins. 

^^2 Whither, my soul, art tending ? Why this mad 
love of forest glades } I recognize my wretched 
mother's fatal curse ;* her love and mine know how 
to sin in forest depths. Mother, my heart aches for 

^ Pirithoiii!. 

* From being merely the assistant of another in an un- 
lawful deed, Theseus is here conceived as the principal in it. 

* Pallas, patroness of Athens by the assignment of the 


* See Index s.v. "Pasiphae." 


correpta pecoris efferum saevi ducem 
audax amasti ; torviis^ impatiens iugi 
adulter ille, ductor indomiti gregis — 
sed amabat aliquid. quis meas miscrae deus 
aut quis iuvare Daedalus flammas queat? 120 

non si ipse remeet, arte Mopsopia potens 
qui nostra caeca monstra conclusit donio, 
promittat ullam casibus nostris opem. 
stirpem perosa Solis invisi Venus 
per nos catenas vindicat Martis sui 
suasque, probris omne Phoebeiim genus 
onerat nefandis. nulla Minois levi 
defuncta amore est, iungitur semj^er nefas. 


Thesea coniunx, clara progenies lovis, 
nefanda casto pectore exturba ocius, 130 

extingue flammas neve te dirae spei 
praebe ob'-equentem. quisquis in primo obstitit 
pepulitque amorem, tutus ac victor fuit ; 
qui blandiendo dulce nutrivit malum, 
sero recusat ferre quod subiit iiigum. 

Nee me fugit, quam durus et veri insolens 
ad recta flecti regius nolit tumor, 
quemcumque dederit exitum casus feram ; 
fortem facit vicina libertas senem. 

Honesta primum est velle nee labi via, 140 

pudor est secundus nosse peccandi modum. 
quo, misera, pergis ? quid domum infamem aggravas 
superasque matrem ? maius est monstro nefas ; 


thee; swept away by ill unspeakable, thou didst 
boldly love the wild leader of the savage herd. 
Fierce was he and impatient of the yoke, lawless in 
love, leader of an untamed herd ; yet he did love 
something. But as for me, what god, what Daedalus 
could ease mv wretched passion ? Though he him- 
self^ should return, migiity in Attic cunning, who 
shut our monster in the dark labyrinth, he could 
afford no help to my calamity. V^enus, detesting the 
offspring of the hated Sun, is avenging through us 
the chains 2 that bound her to her loved Mars, and 
loads the whole race of Phoebus with shame un- 
speakable. No daughter of Minos' house hath found 
love's bondage light ; ever 'tis linked with guilt. 


O wife of Theseus, illustrious child of Jove, quickly 
drive guilty thoughts from thy pure breast, put 
out these fires, nor show thyself obedient to this 
dread ho}>e of love. Whoever at the outset has re- 
sisted and routed love, has been safe and conqueror; 
but whoso by dalliance has fed the sweet torment, 
too late refuses to bear the accepted yoke. 

^3® I know how the stubborn pride of princes, ill 
brooking truti), refuses to be bent to righteousness ; 
but whatever outcome fate shall give I am ready to 
endure ; freedom near at hand makes the aged brave. 

1*0 Best is the upright purpose and tlie unswerving 
path ; next is the shame, that knows some measure 
in transgressing. To what end art thou hasting, 
wretched woman ? Why heap fresh infamy upon 
thy house and outsin thy mother? Impious sin is 

' Daedalus. 

' See Index s.v. " Mars" and " Venus." 


nam monstra fato, moribus scelera imputes, 
si, quod maritus supera non cernit loca, 
tutum esse faeinus credis et vacuum metu, 
erras ; teneri crede Letliaeo abditum 
Thesea profundo et ferre perpetuam Styga; 
quid ille, lato maria qui regno premit 
populisque reddit iura centenis, pater ? 1 50 

latere tantum faeinus occultum sinet ? 
sagax parentum est cura. credamus tarn en 
astu doloque tegere nos tantum nefas ; 
quid ille rebus lumen infundens suum 
matris parens? quid ille qui mundum quatit 
vibrans corusca fulmen Aetnaeum manu, 
sator deorum ? credis hoc posse effici, 
inter videntes omnia ut lateas avos ? 

Sed ut secundus numinum abscondat favor 
coitus nefandos utque contingat stupi'o l60 

negata magnis sceleribus semper fides ; 
quid poena praesens conscius mentis pavor 
animusque culpa plenus et semet timens? 
scelus aliqua tutum, nulla securum tulit. 
compesce amoris impii flammas, precor, 
nefasque quod non uUa tellus barbara 
commisit umquam, non vagi camj)is Getae 
ncc inhospitalis Taurus aut sparsus Scythes ; 
expelle faeinus mente castifica horridum 
memorque matris metue concubitus novos. 170 

miscere thalamos patris et nati apparas 
uteroque pi-olem capere confusam impio ? 


worse than monstrous passion; for monstrous love 
thou mayst impute to fate, but crime, to character. 
If, because thy husband sees not the realms of earth, 
thou dost believe thy guilt safe and devoid x)f fear, 
thou errest. Suppose that Theseus is indeed held 
fast, hidden away in Lethean depths^ and must suffer 
the Styx eternally; what of him, thy father, who 
holds the seas under his wide dominion and gives 
laws to a hundred ^ peoples ? Will he permit so great 
a crime to lie concealed ? Shrewd is the care of 
fathers. Yet suppose that by craft and guile we do 
hide this great wickedness from him ; what of him 
who sheds his light on all things, thy mother's 
sire .''2 What of him who makes the heavens rock, 
brandishing Aetnean bolts in his glittering hand, 
the father of the gods? Dost believe thou canst 
so sin as to escape the all-seeing eyes of both thy 
grand sires ? 

^^^ But grant that heaven's kindly grace conceals 
this impious intercourse ; grant that to incest be shown 
the loyalty which great crimes never find; what 
of the ever-present penalty, the soul's conscious 
dread, and the heart filled with crime and fearful 
of itself .'' Some women have sinned with safety, 
but none with peace of soul. Then quench the fires 
of impious love, I pray, and shun a deed which no 
barbaric land has ever done, neither the Getae, 
wandering on their plains, nor the inhospitable 
Taurians, nor scattered Scythians. Drive this hideous 
purpose from thy chaste mind, and, remembering 
thy mother, shun strange matings. Dost purpose 
to share thy bed with father and with son, and 
receive in an incestuous womb a blended progeny .'' 

^ The " hundred cities " of Crete. 
» The Sun. 


perge et nefandis verte naturam ignibus — 
cur monstra cessant ? aula cur fratris vacat ? 
prodigia totiens orbis insueta audiet, 
naturatotiens legibus cedet suis, 
quotiens amabit Cressa ? 


Quae memoras scio 
vera esse^ nutrix ; sed furor cogit sequi 
peiora. vadit animus in praeceps seiens 
renieatque frustra sana consilia appetens. 180 

sic cum gravatam navita adversa ratem 
propellit unda, cedit in vanum labor 
et victa prono puppis aufertur vado. 
quid ratio j)ossit ? vicit ac regnat furor 
potensque tota mente dominatur deus. 
hie vol u car omni pollet in terra impotens 
laesumque flammis torret indomitis lovera ; 
Gradivus istas belliger sensit faces, 
opifex trisulci fulminis sensit deus, 
et qui furentes semper Aetnaeis iugis I90 

versat caminos igne tarn parvo calet ; 
ipsumque Phoelnimj tela qui nervo regit, 
figit sagitta certior missa puer 
volitatque caelo pariter et terris gravis. 


Deum esse amorem turpis et vitio furens 
finxit libido, quoque liberior foret 


Then go thou on and overturn all nature with thy 
unhallowed fires. Why do monsters cease ?^ Why 
does thy brother's^ labyrinth sfcind empty? Shall 
the world hear of strange prodigies, shall nature's 
laws give way, whenever a Cretan woman loves ? 

I know, nurse, that what thou sayest is true ; but 
passion forces me to take the worser path. With 
full knowledge my soul moves on to tb.e abyss and 
vainly seeks the backward way in quest of counsels 
sane. Even so, when the mariner urges his laden 
vessel against opposing seas, his toil goes for naught 
and the ship, vanquished, is swept away by the swift- 
moving tide. What can reason do.^ Passion has 
conquered and now rules supreme, and, a mighty 
god, lords it o'er all my soul. This winged god 
rules ruthlessly throughout the earth and inflames 
Jove himself, wounded with unquenched fires. 
Gradivus, the warrior god, has felt those flames ; 
that god^ has felt them who fashions the three- 
forked thunderbolts, yea, he who tends the hot 
furnaces ever raging 'neath Aetna's peaks is inflamed 
by so small a fire as this. Nay, Phoebus himself, 
who guides with sure aim his arrows from the bow- 
string, a boy of more sure aim pierces with his flying 
shaft, and flits about, baneful alike to heaven and to 


'Tis base and sin-mad lust that has made love 
into a god and, to enjoy more liberty, has given to 

* i.e. Why are no more monsters like the Minotaur pro- 
duceil 7 

• The Minotaur. • Vulcan. 



titulum furori numinis falsi addidit. 

natum per omnes scilicet terras vagum 

Erycina mittit, ille per caelum volans 

proterva tenera tela molitur manu 200 

regniimque tantum minimus e superis habet! 

vana ista demens animus ascivit sibi 

Venerisque numen finxit atque arcus del. 

quisquis secundis rebus exultat nimis 

fluitque luxu, semper insolita appetit. 

tunc ilia magnae dira fortunae comes 

subit libido ; non placent suetae dapes, 

non tecta sani moris aut vilis scyphus. 

cur in peuates rarius tenues subit 

haec delicatas eligens pestis domos ? 210 

cur sancta parvis habitat in tectis Venus 

mediumque sanos vulgus affectus tenet 

et se coercent modica ? contra divites 

regnoque fulti plura quam fas est petunt ? 

quod non potest vult posse qui nimium potest. 

quid deceat alto praeditam solio vides ; 

metue ac verere sceptra remeantis viri. 


Amoris in me maximum regnum puto 
reditusque nullos metuo. non umquam amplius 
convexa tetigit supera qui mersus semel 220 

adiit silentem nocte perpetua domum. 


Ne crede Diti. clauserit regnum licet 
canisque diras Stygius observet fores, 
solus negatas iiivenit Theseus vias. 



passion the title of an unreal divinity. The goddess 
of Eryx^ sends her son, forsooth, wandering through 
all lands, and he, flying through heaven's void^ wields 
wanton weapons in his boyish hands, and, though 
least of gods, still holds such mighty empire ! 'Tis 
love-mad souls that have adopted these vain con- 
ceits and have feigned Venus' divinity and a god's 
archery. Whoever rejoices in overmuch prosperity 
and abounds in luxury is ever seeking unaccustomed 
joys. Then that dire comrade of high estate, in- 
ordinate desire, steals in ; wonted feasts no longer 
please, nor houses of simple fashion or modest cups. 
Why steals this deadly pest more rarely into humble 
homes, choosing rather the homes of daintiness .-^ 
Wh}- doth hallowed love dwell 'neath lowly roofs 
and the general throng have wholesome impulses ? 
Why hath modest fortune self-control ? Why, on 
the other hand, do rich men, propped on empire, 
ever grasp at more than heaven allows ? He Avho is 
too powerful seeks power beyond his power. What 
becomes one endowed with high estate, thou knowest 
well ; then fear and respect the sceptre of thy 
returning lord. 

Love's is, I think, the mightiest sovereignty over 
me, and I fear no lord's return. Nevermore has he 
reached sight of the vaulted skies who, once plunged 
in perpetual night, has gone to the silent home. 


Trust not in Dis. Though he bar his realm, and 
though the Stygian dog keep guard o'er the grim 
doors, Theseus alone finds out forbidden ways. 
i Venus 




Veniam ille amori forsitan uostio dabit. 


Immitis etiam coniugi castae fuit ; 
experta saevam est barbara Antiopc maniim. 
sed posse flecti coniugem iratum piita ; 
quis liuius aninium flectet intractabilem ? 
exosus omne feminae nomen Tugit, 230 

immitis annos caelibi vitae dicat, 
couubia vitat, genus Amazonium scias. 

Hunc in nivosi coUis haerentem iugis, 
et aspera agili saxa calcantem pede 
sequi per alta nemora, per montes placet. 

Resistet ille seque mulcendum dabit 
castosque ritiis Venere non casta exiiet ? 
tibi ponet odium, cuius odio forsitan 
persequitur omnes ? precibus baud vinci potest. 


Ferus est ; amore didicimus vinci ftros. 240 





Per ipsa maria si fugiet, sequar. 



He will give indulgence to my love, perchance. 


Harsh was he even to a virtuous wife ; foreign 
Antiope found his hand severe. But suppose thou 
canst bend thy angry husband ; who can bend this 
youth's stubborn soul ? Hating the very name of 
woman, he flees them all, sternly devotes his years 
to single life and shuns the marriage tie. Thou 
wouldst know him of Amazonian breed. 


Though he keep him to the peaks of snowy hills, 
though he course swiftly 'mongst the ragged rocks, 
still through the deep forests, over the mountains, 'tis 
my resolve to follow him. 


Will he stop for thee and yield himself to thy 
caresses? Will he lay aside his pure practices for 
impure love ? Will he give up his hate for thee, 
when 'tis for hate of thee, perchance, he repels all 
women ? By no prayers can he be overcome. 


Wild is he; but wild things, we have learned, 
can be o'ercome by love. 


He will flee away. 

Ihuugh he flee through the very seas, still will I 

I Y S87 



Patris memento. 


Meminimus matris simul 


Genus omne profugit. 


Paelicis careo metu 

Adeiit maritus. 


Nempe Pirithoi ' comes ? 


Aderitcjue genitor. 


Mitis, Ariadnae pater. 


Per has scnectae splendidas supplex comas 
fessumque curis pectus et cara ubera 
precor, furorem siste teque ipsa adiuva. 
pars sanitatis velle sanari fuit. 

* So A : Leo Perithoi, 



Remember thy father. 


My mother I remember too. 


He shuns the whole race of women. 


Then need I fear no rival. 


Thy husband wiU be here. 


Yes, comrade of Pirithoiis 1 


And thy father will be here. 


He will be kind, Ariadne's father. 


By these gleamin;^ locks of age, by this heart, 
worn with care, by these dear breasts, I beg thee 
check this mad love and come to thy own relief. The 
Mish for healing has ever been the half of health. 



Non omnis aninio cessit ingenuo piidor. 250 

paremus, altrix. qui regi non vult amor 
vincatur. haucl te, fama, maculari sinam. 
liaec sola ratio est, unicum eft'ugium mail : 
virum sequamur ; morte praevertam nefas. 


Moderare, alumna, mentis effrenae impetus, 
animos coerce, dignam ob hoc vita reor 
quod esse temet autumas dignam nece. 

Decreta mors est; quaeritur fati genus, 
laqueone vitam finiam an ferro incubem ? 
an missa praeceps arce Palladia cadam ? 260 


Sic te senectus nostra praecipiti sinat 262 

perire leto ? siste furibundum impetum. 
baud quisquam ad vitam facile revocaii potest. 


Prohibere nulla ratio periturum potest 
ubi qui mori constituit et debet mori. 
proin castitatis vindicem armemus nianum. 26l 


Solamen annis unicum fessis, era, 267 

si tam protervus incubat menti furor, 
contemne famam : fama vix vero favet, 

^ Leo deletes this line. 



Not wholly has shame fled from ray noble soul. 
I yieldj dear nurse. Let the love which will not 
be controlled be overcome. Fair fame, I will not 
suffer thee to be defiled. This is the only way, the 
one sole escape from evil : let me follow my husband ; 
by death will I forestall my sin. 

Check, O my child, the rush ot thine unbridled 
spirit ; control thy passion. For this cause do I deem 
thee worthy life, since thou declarest thyself worthy 

I am resolved on death ; I seek but the manner 
of my fiite. With the noose shall I end my life, or 
fall upon the sword ? or shall I leap headlong from 
Pallas' citadel.'' 


Can my old age permit thee thus to go headlong 
to thy df ath ? Resist this mad impulse. No one 
can easily be recalled to life. 

No argument can stay from perishing one who 
has resolved to die and ought to die. Wherefore 
in protection of my honour let me arm my hand. 

O mistress, sole comfort of my weary years, if 
so unruly a passion weighs on thy soul, scorn thou 
this fame ; scarcely doth fame favour truth, being 



peius raerenti melior et peior bono. 270 

temptemus animum tristem et intractabilem. 
meus iste labor est aogredi iuvenem ferum 
mentemque saevam flectere immitis viri. 

Diva non miti generata ponto, 
quam vocat raatrem geminus Cupido, 
impotens flammis simul et sagittis, 
iste lascivus puer et renidens 
tela quam certo moderatur arcu ! 
labitur totas furor in medullas 
igiie furtivo populante venas.^ 280 

non habet latam data plaga frontem, 
sed vorat tectas penitus medullas, 
nulla pax isti puero : per orbem 
spargit efFusas agilis sagittas ; 
quaeque nascentem videt ora solem, 
quaeque ad Hespei'ias iacet ora nietas, 
si qua ferventi subiecta cancro, 
si qua Parrhasiae glacialis ursae 
semper errantes patitur colonos, 
novit hos aestus. iuvenum feroces 29O 

concitat flammas senibusque fessis 
rursus extinctos revocat calores^ 
virginum ignoto ferit igne pectus 
et iubet caelo superos relicto 
vultibus falsis habitare terras. 

Thessali Phoebus pecoris magister 
egit armentum positoque plectro 
impari tauros calamo vocavit. 
induit formas quotiens minores 
ipse qui caelum nebulasque fecit : 300 

Candidas ales modo movit alas, 
1 Leo deletes II. 279, 280. 


better to the worse deserving, worse to the good. 
Let us test that grim and stubborn soul. Mine is 
the task to approach the savage youth and bend 
the cruel man's relentless will. 

\_Exeunt into the palace,^ 

Thou goddess, born of the cruel sea, who art 
called the mother of both Loves,^ that wanton, 
smiling boy of thine, reckless alike with torches and 
with arrows, with how sure bow doth he aim his 
shafts ! His madness steals to the inmost marrow, 
while with creeping fire he ravages the veins. The 
wound he deals has no broad Iront, but it eats its 
wav deep into the hidden marrow. There is no peace 
with that boy of thine ; throughout the world nimbly 
he scatters his flying shafts. The shore that beholds 
the new-born sun and the shore that lies at his 
far western goal, the land lying beneath the burn- 
ing Crab and the cold region of the Arcadian Bear, 
which sustains its ever-wandering husbandmen, all 
know these fires of his. He kindles the fierce flames 
of youth and in worn-out age he wakes again the 
extinguished fires ; he smites maids' breasts with 
unknown heat, and bids the very gods leave heaven 
and dwell on earth in borrowed forms. 

28^ Phoebus as keeper of the Thessalian herd' 
drove his cattle along and, laying quill aside, called 
together his bulls on the unequal reeds. How often did 
he put on lower forms, even he ^ who made heaven and 
the clouds : now as a bird he fluttered his white wings 

^ 'EIpciJj and 'Avripus. 

* Phoebus kept the herds of King Admetus for a year. 

* Jupiter, who came to Leda in the form of a swan. 



dulcior vocem moriente cygiio ; 
fronte nunc torva petulans iuvencus 
virginum stravit sua terga ludo, 
perque fraternos nova regna fluctus 
ungula lentos imitante remos 
pectore adverse domuit profiindum, 
pro sua vector timidus raj)iiia. 
arsit obscuri dea clara muiidi 
nocte deserta nit'dosque fratri SIO 

tradidit currus aliter regendos. 
ille nocturnas agitare bigas 

discit et gyro breviore flecti, S\3 

dum tremunt axes graviore curru ;* 31 6 

nee suura tempus tenuere noctes 314 

et dies tardo remeavit ortu, 315 

natiis Alcmena posuit pbaretras 317 

et minax vasti spolium leonis, 
passus aptaii digitis zmaragdos 
et dari legem rudibus capillis ; 320 

crura distincto religavit auro, 
luteo plantas cohibente socco ; 
et manu, clavam modo qua gerebat, 
fila deduxit properante fuso. 
Vidit Persis ditique ferax 

Lydia regno d iecta feri 

terga leonis 

umerisque, quibus sederat alti 

regia caeli, tenuem Tyiio 

stamine pal lam. 

sacer est ignis (credite laesis) 330 

nimiumque potens. qua terra salo 

cingitur alto quaque per ipsum 

Candida mundum sidera cnrrunt, 

haec regna tenet puer immitis, 
^ Leo has set this line after 313, 



with note sweeter than the dying swan ; now with 
savage front as a wanton bull he lowered his back for 
the sport of maidens and through the strange kingdom 
of his brother's waveSj using his hoofs in place of pliant 
oars, he breasted the deep sea and overcame it, a 
ferryman trembling for the prize ^ he bore. The 
radiant goddess ^ of the darksome sky burned with 
love and, forsaking the night, gave her gleaming 
chariot to her brother to guide in fashion other than 
his own. He learned to drive the team of night and 
to >v'heel in narrower circuit, while the axle groaned 
beneath the car's heavier weight; nor did the nights 
keep tlieir accustomed length, and with belated 
dawning came the day. The son of Alcraena ^ l.iid 
by his quiver and the threatening skin of the huge 
lion, letting emeralds be fitted to his fingers and 
law be enforced on his rough locks ; he bound his 
legs with cross-garterings of gold and within yellow 
sandals confined his feet ; and in that hand, with 
which he but now bore the club, he spun out threads 
with flying spindle. 

^^^ Persia and the rich, fertile realm of Lydia saw 
the fierce lion's skin laid aside, and on those shoulders, 
on which the royal structure of the lofty skv had 
rested, a gauzy cloak of Tyrian web. 'Tis an accursed 
fire (believe those who have suffered) and all too 
powerful. Where the land is encircled by the briny 
deep, where the bright stars course through heaven 
itself, over these realms the pitiless boy holds 
sovereignty, whose shafts are felt in the lowest 

^ Earopa, whom the god, in bull-form, carried over the sea 
to Crete. 

* Diana, or Luna, the moon-goddess, who was in love with 
the >hepherd, Endymion. 

' Hercules, smitten with love for Omphale, the Lydian 



spicula cuius sentit in imis 
caerulus undis grex ^ Nereid um 
flammamque acquit relevare mari, 
ignes sentit genus aligerum. 
Venere instinctus suscipit audax 
grege pro toto bella iuvencus ; 340 

si coniugio timuere suo, 

poscunt timidi proelia cervi. S42 

tunc virgatas India tigres 344 

decolor horret ; tunc vulnificos 
acuit dentes aper et toto est 
spumeus ore ; 

Poeni quatiunt colla leones 348 

et mugitu dant conce2)ti ^ 343 

signa fui'oris. cum movit Amor, 343'' 349 

turn silva gemit murmure saevo. 350 

amat insani belua ponti 
Lucaeque bov^es^ vindicat omnem 
sibi naturam ; nihil immune est, 
odiumque perit cum iussit Amor, 
veteres cedunt ignibus irae — 
quid plura canam ? vincit saevas 
cura novercas. 
Altrix, jirofare quid feras ; quoimm in loco est 
regina? saevis ecquis est flammis modus? 


Spes nulla tantum posse leniri malum, SCO 

finisque flammis nullus insanis erit. 
torretur aestu tacito et inclusus quoque, 
quamvis tegatur, proditur vultu furor; 
erumpit oculis ignis et lassae genae 

1 So A : Leo pervius undis rex. 
* Leo has transposed this line. 



depths by the sea-blue throng of Nereids, nor can 
they ease their heat by ocean's waters. These 
fires the race of winged creatures feel. Goaded on 
by love, the bold bull undertakes battle for the 
whole herd ; if they feel that their mates are in 
danger, timid stags challenge to war. At such a 
time swart India holds striped tigers in especial fear; 
at such a time tlie boar whets his death-dealing 
tusks and his jaws are covered all with foam ; African 
lions toss their manes and by their roarings give 
token of their engendered passion. When Love has 
roused them, then the forest groans with their grim 
uproar. Love sways the monsters of the raging sea, 
sways Lucanian bulls,^ claims as his own all nature ; 
nothing is exempt, and hate perishes at the command 
of Love. Old grudges yield unto his fires. Why tell 
of more ? Love's cares o'erwhelm harsh stepmothers. 
[Enler nurse ^/wn the inner palace.] 

3^8 Nurse, tell the news thou bearest. How stands 

it with the queen } Hath her fierce flame any bound ? 



No hope is there that such suffering can be re- 
lieved, and no end will there be to her mad fires. 
She is parched by a silent fever, and e'en though 'tis 
hidden away, shut in her heart, her |)assion is be- 
trayed in her face ; fire darts from her ejes ; again, 
her weary gaze shrinks from the light ; nothing 

^ i.e. elephants, so called because Italy first saw elephanta 
in Lucania, in the war with Pyrrhus. 



lucem recusant, nil idem dubiae placet 

artusque varie iactat incertus dolor. 

nunc ut soluto labitur moriens gradu 

et vix labante sustinet collo caput, 

nunc se quieti reddit et, somni immemor, 

nocteni querelis ducit ; altolli iubet S70 

iterumque poni corpus et solvi comas 

rursusque fingi ; semper impatiens sui 

mutatur liabitus. nulla iam Cereris subit 

cura aut salutis ; vadit incerlo pede, 

iam viribus defecta. non idem vigor, 

non ora tinguens nitida purpureus rubor ; 

populatur artus cura, iam gressus tremunt 

tenerque nitidi corporis cecidit decor. ^ 

et qui ferebant signa Phoebeae facis 

oculi nihil gentile nee patrium micant. S80 

lacrimae cadunt per ora et assiduo genae 

rore irrigantur, qualiter Tauri iugis 

tepido madescunt imbre percussae nives. 

Sed en, patescunt regiae fastigia. 
reclinis ipsa sedis aurataetoro 
solitos amictus mente non sana abnuit 


Removete, famulae, purpura atque auro inlitas 
vestes, procul sit muricis Tyrii rubor, 
quae fila ramis ultimi Seres legiint. 
brevis expedites zona constringat sinus, S9O 

cervix monili vacua, nee niveus lapis 
deducat aures, Indici donum maris ; 
odore crinis sparsus Assyrio vacet. 
sic temere iactae colla perfundant comae 

1 Uo deletes II. 377, 37S 


long pleases her unbalanced soul^ and her limbs 
by ever-shifting pangs are tossed in changeful wise. 
Now with failing steps she sinks down as if dying, 
and can hardly hold up her head on her fainting 
neck ; now she lies down to rest and, heedless of 
slumber, spends the night in lamentations; she bids 
them to lift her up and again to lay her down, to loose 
her hair and again to bind it up ; her raiment, with 
itself dissatisfied, is ever changed. She has now no 
care for food or health. She walks with aimless feet, 
wasted now in strength. Her old-time sprightliness 
is gone, and the ruddy glow of health no longer 
shines on her bright face ; care feeds upon her 
limbs, her steps totter and the tender grace of her 
once beautiful form is fallen away ; her eyes, which 
once shone like Phoebus' torch, no longer gleam 
•with their ancestral fire. Tears fall down her face 
and her cheeks are wet with constant drops, as when 
on the top of Taurus the snows melt away, pierced 
by a warm shower. 

^^ But see, the palace doors are opening, and she 
herself, lying on golden couch, all sick of soul, rejects 
her wonted garments. 


Away, ye slaves, with robes bedecked with purple 
and with gold; away, scarlet of the Tyrian ^^hell, 
the webs ^ which the far-off Seres gather from the 
trees. Let a narrow girdle hold in my garments' 
unencumbering folds, let there be no necklace at my 
throat, let no snowy pearls, the gift of India's ocean, 
weigh down my ears, and let my hair hang loose, 
unscented by Assyrian nard. So, tossed at random, 

^ A reference to silk and the culture of the silkworm by 
the Seres, supposed to be the Chinese. 



umerosque summos, cursibus motae citis 
ventos sequantur. laeva se pharetrae dabit, 
hastile vibret dextra Thessalicum manus.^ 397 

quails relictis frigid! Ponti plagis 399 

egit catervas Atticum pulsans solum 400 

Tanaitis aut Maeotis et nodo comas 
coegit emisitque, lunata latus 
protecta pelta ; talis in silvas ferar. 


Sepone questus ; non levat miseros dolor ; 
agreste placa virginis niimen deae. 


Regina nemorum, sola quae montes colis 
et una solis montibus coleris dea, 
converte tristes ominum in melius miuas. 
o magna silvas inter et lucos dea 

clarumque caeli sidus et noctis decus, 410 

cuius relucet mundus alterna vice, 
Hecate triformis, ea ades coeptis favens. 
animum rigentem tristis Hippolyti donia ; 
det facilis aures. mitiga pectus ferum ; 
amare discat, mutuos ignes ferat. 
innecte mentem ; torvus aversus ferox 
in iura Veneris redeat, hue vires tuas 
intende ; sic te lucidi vultus ferant 
et nube rupta cornibus puris eas, 
sic te regentem frena nocturni aetheris 420 

detrahere numquam Thessali cantus queant 

1 Leo ddetet : talis severi mater Hippolyti fuit. 398 


let my locks fall down upon my neck and shoulders 
and, moved by swift running, stream upon the wind. 
My left hand shall be busied with the quiver and my 
right wield a Thessalian spear. In such guise as the 
dweller by Tanais or Maeotis/ leaving cold Pontus' 
tract behind, led her hordes, treading Athenian soil, 
and, binding her locks in a knot, let them flow free, 
her side protected by a crescent shield; so will I 
betake me to the woods. 


Cease thy complainings ; grieving helps not the 
wretched. Appease the rustic divinity of our virgin 


O queen of groves, thou who in solitude lovest 
thy mountain-haunts, and who upon the solitary 
mountains art alone held holy, change for the better 
these dark, ill-omened threats. O great goddess of 
the woods and groves, bright orb of heaven, glory of 
the night, by whose changing beams the universe 
shines clear, O three-formed Hecate, lo, thou art at 
hand, favouring our undertaking. Conquer the un- 
bending soul of stern Hippolytus ; may he, compliant, 
give ear unto our prayer. Soften his fierce heart ; 
may he learn to love, may he feel answering flames. 
Ensnare his mind ; grim, hostile, fierce, may he turn 
him back unto the fealty of love. To this end direct 
thy powers ; so mayst thou wear a shining face and, 
the clouds all scattered, fare on with undimmed 
horns ; so, when thou drivest thy car through the 
nightly skies, may no witcheries of Thessaly prevail 

^ i.e. any woman of the race of Amazons 


nullusque de te gloriam pastor ferat. 
ades invocata, iam fave votis, dea. 

Ipsum intuor solemne venerantem sacrum 
millo latus comitante — quid dubitas ? dedit 
tempus locumque casus ; utendum arlibus. 
trepidamus? haud est facile mandaturn scelus 
audere, verum iussa qui regis timet, 
deponat omne et pellat ex animo decus ; 
malus est minister regii imperii pudor. 430 


Quid hue seniles fessa moliris gradus, 
o fida nutrix, turbidam frontem gerens 
et maesta vultu? sospes est certe parens 
sospesque Phaedra stirpis et geminae iugum? 


Metus remitte. prospero regnum in statu est 
domusque florens sorte felici viget. 
sed tu beatis mitior rebus veni ; 
namque anxiam me cura sollicitat tui, 
quod te ipse poenis gravibus infestus domas. 
quern fata coguut, ille cum venia est miser ; 440 

at si quis ultro se malis offert volens 
seque ipse torquet, perdere est dignus bona 
quis nescit uti. potius annorum memor 
mentem relaxa ; noctibus festis facem 
attolle, curas Bacchu^^xoneret graves. 



to drag thee down and may no shepherd ^ make 
boast o'er thee. Be near^ goddess, in answer to our 
call ; hear now our prayers. 

[hippolytl's is seen approaching.^ 

*** The man himself I see^ coming to perform 
thy sacred rites, no comrade at his side. [To herself.] 
Why dost thou hesitate .'' Chance has given thee both 
time and place. Thou must employ thy arts. Why do 
I tremble ? 'Tis no easy task to dare a crime bidden 
by another, but whoso fears a sovereign's behests 
must lay aside and banish from his heart all thought 
of honour ; shame is but an ill servant of a sovereign's 


Why dost hither wend wearily thy aged steps, 
O failTiful nurse, with troubled brow and face de- 
jected .'' Surely my sire is Sife, Phaedra is safe, and 
their two sons ? 


Banish thy fear. The realm is in prosperous state, 
thy house is strong, flourishing under the smile of 
Heaven. But in this happy lot do thou show thyself 
less harsh ; for distress for thee harasses my anxious 
heart, seeing that thou in thine own despite dost 
break thyself with heavy penances. If fate compels, 
'tis pardonable to be wretched ; but whoso of his own 
accord surrenders himself to misery and causes his 
own torment, he deserves to lose the happiness he 
knows not how to use. Nay, remember thy youth 
and relax thy spirit ; go out o' nights, raising the festal 
torch ; let Bacchus unburden thy weighty cares. 

^ An allusion to Endjmion. 
1 z S53 



Aetata fruere ; mobili cursu fugit. 
nunc facile pectus, grata nunc iuveni Venus, 
exultet animus, cur toro viduo iaces ? 
tristem iuventam solve ; nunc luxus ^ rape, 
effunde habenas^ optimos vitae dies 450 

effluere prohibe. propria descripsit deus 
officia et aevum per suos duxit gradus ; 
laetitia iuvenem, frons decet tristis senem. 
quid te coherces et necas rectam indolem ? 
seges ilia magnum fenus agricolae dabit 
quaecumque laetis tenera luxuriat satis, 
arborque celso vertice evincet nemus 
quam non maligna caedit aut resecat manus. 
ingenia melius recta se in laudes ferunt, 
si nobilem animum vegeta libertas alit. 460 

Truculentus et Silvester ac vitae inscius 
tristem iuventam Venere deserta coles ? 
hoc esse munus credis indictum viris, 
ut dura tolerent, cursibus domitent equos 
et saeva bella Marte sanguineo gerant ? 
quam varia leti genera mortalem trahunt 475 

carpuntque turbam, pontus et ferrum et doli ! 
sed ista credas desse : sic atram Styga 
iam petimus ultro. caelibem vitam probet 
steriiis iuventus ; hoc erit, quidquid vides, 
unius aevi turba et in semet ruet. 480 

providit ille maximus mundi parens, 466 

cum tarn rapaces cerneret Fati manus, 
ut damna semper subole repararet nova, 
excedat agedum rebus humanis Venus, 
quae supplet ac restituit exhaustum genus : 470 

orbis iacebit squalido turpis situ, 
vacuum sine ullis piscibus stabit mare 

^ So A : Leo cuffus. 


*** Enjoy thy life ; tis speeding swift away. Now 
hearts are light, now love to youth is pleasing. Let 
thy heart rejoice. Why dost lie on a lonely couch ? 
Free thy youth from gloom ; lay hold on pleasures ; 
loosen the reins ; let not life's best days escape thee. 
God has portioned out its proper duties to each time 
of life and led this span of ours through its own stages; 
joy befits the young, a serious face the old. Why 
dost hold thyself in check and strangle thy true 
nature ? That crop will give to the farmer the best 
return which in the tender blade runs riot with joyous 
growth, and that tree with lofty head will overtop the 
grove which no grudging hand cuts down or prunes 
away. Sowillrightmindsbereareduntoariclierfruitof 
praise, if sprightly freedom nourish the high-born soul. 

*®^ Wilt thou, as a harsh woods-dweller, ignorant 
of life, spend thy youth in gloom and let Venus be 
forgot } Is it man's allotted task, thinkst thou, to 
endure hardship, curb horses in their swift course, 
and wage savage wars in bloody battles ? How 
various are the forms of death that seize and feed 
on mortal throngs ! the sea, the steel and treachery ! 
But suppose these lacking : by thy path we make 
wantonly for murky death. The unwedded life let 
barren youth applaud ; then will all that thou 
beholdest be the throng of one generation only and 
will fall in ruins on itself. In his providence did 
yonder almighty father of the universe, when he saw 
how greedy were the hands of Fate, give heed ever 
by fresh progeny to make losses good. Come now, 
let love but be banished from human life, love, 
which supplies and renews the impoverished race : 
the whole globe will lie foul in vile neglect ; the 
sea will stand empty of its fish ; birds will be lack- 
ing to the heavens, wild beasts to the woods, and 



alesque caelo derit et silvis fera, 

solis et aer pervius ventis erit. 474 

proinde vitae sequere naturam ducem ; 481 

urbem frequenta, civium coetum cole. 


Non alia magis est libera et vitio carens 
ritusque melius vita quae priscos colat, 
quam quae rclictis moenibus silvas amat. 
noil ilium avarae mentis iuflammat furor 
qui se dicavit montium insontem iugis, 
non aura populi et vulgus infidum bonis, 
non pestilens invidia, non fragilis favor ; 
non ille regno servit aut regno imminens 4^0 

vanos honores sequitur aut fluxas opes, 
spei metusque liber; haud ilium niger 
edaxque livor dente degeneri petit ; 
nee scelera populos inter atque urbes sata 
novit nee omnes conscius strepitus pavet 
aut verba fingit ; mille non quaerit tegi 
dives columnis nee trabes multo insolens 
suffigit auro ; non cruor largus pias 
inundat aras, fruge nee sparsi sacra 
centena nivei eolla summittunt boves ; 500 

sed rure vacuo potitur et aperto aethere 
innocuus errat. 

Callidas tantum feris 
struxisse fraudes novit et fessus gravi 
labore niveo corpus Iliso fovet. 
nunc ille ripam celeris Alphei legit, 
nunc nemoris alti densa metatur loca, 
ubi Lerna puro gelida perlucet vado, 
sedesque mutas ; hinc aves querulae fremunt 
ornique ventis lene percussae tiemunt 


the paths of air will be traversed only by the winds- 
Follow, then, nature as life's guide ; frequent the 
city ; seek out the haunts of men. 


There is no life so free and innocent, none which 
better cherishes the ancient ways, than that which, 
forsaking cities, loves the woods. His heart is 
inflamed by no mad greed of gain who has devoted 
himself to harmless ranging on the mountain-tops ; 
here is no shouting populace, no mob, faithless to good 
men, no poisonous hate, no brittle favour. No slave 
is he of kings, nor in quest of kingship does he chase 
empty honours or elusive wealth, free alike from 
liope and fear ; him venomous spite assails not with 
the bite of base-born tooth ; those crimes that spawn 
midst the city's teeming throngs he does not know, 
nor in guilty consciousness does he quake at every 
sound, or frame lying words. He seeks not in pride 
of wealth to be sheltered by a roof reared on a thou- 
sand pillars, nor in insolence plates he with much 
gold his rafter-beams. No streams of blood drench 
his pious altars, no hecatombs of snow-white bullocks, 
sprinkled with the sacred meal, bend low their necks ; 
but his lordship is over the empty fields, and beneath 
the open sky he wanders blameless. 

s°2 His only craft is to set cunning snares for the 
wild beasts, and, when weary with hard toil, he 
refreshes his body in Ilissos' stream, chilled by the 
snows. Now he fares along the bank of swift- 
flowing Alpheus, now traverses the lofty grove's 
deep places, where cool Lerna is transparent with its 
crystal shoals, and the silent forest-depths, wherein the 
complaining birds make music, and the ash-trees and 
ancient beeches quiver, moving gently in the breeze. 



veteresque fagi. iuvit aut aninis vagi 510 

pressisse ripas, caespite aut nudo leves 
duxisse somnos, sive fons largus citas 
defundit undas sive per flores novos 
fugiente dulcis murmurat rivo sonus. 

Excussa silvis poma compescunt famera 
et fraga parvis vulsa dumetis cibos 
faciles ministrant. regies luxus procul 
est impetus fugisse. sollicito bibunt 
auro superbi ; quam iuvat nuda manu 
captasse fontem ! certior somnus pieniit 520 

secura duro membra versantem toro. 
non in recessu furta et obscuro improbus 
quaerit cubili seque multiplici timens 
domo recondit ; aethera ac lucem petit 
et teste caelo vivit. 

Hoc equidem reor 
vixisse ritu prima quos mixtos deis 
profudit aetas. nullus his auri fuit 
caecus eupido, nullus in eampo sacer 
divisit agros arbiter populis lapis ; 
nondum secabant credulae pontum rates ; 530 

sua quisque norat maria. non vasto aggere 
crebraque turre cinxerant urbes latus ; 
non arma saeva miles aptabat manu 
nee torta clausas fregerat saxo gravi 
ballista portas, iussa nee dominum pati 
iuncto ferebat terra servitium bove ; 
sed arva per se feta poscentes nihil 
pavere gentes, silva nativas opes 
et opaca dederant antra nativas domos. 

Rupere foedus impius lucri furor 540 

et ira pi*aeceps quaeque succeiisas agit 
libido mentes ; venit imperii sitis 
cruenta, factus praeda maiori minor, 


Sweet it is to lie on the bank of some vagrant stream, 
or on the bare sward to quaff light-stealing slumbers, 
be it where some copious spring pours down its hurry- 
ing waters, or through budding flowers some brook 
murmurs sweetly as it glides along. 

^^^ Fruit shaken from the forest trees stays his 
hunger, and berries plucked from the low bushes 
aflPord an easy meal. It is his passion to flee far from 
royal luxury, 'Tis from anxious cups of gold that 
the proud drink ! how sweet to catch up with the 
bare hand the water of the spring ! Here slumber 
more surely soothes as he lays him down, care-free, 
on his hard bed. He guiltily plots no stealthy deeds 
in secret chamber and on a hidden couch, nor hides 
fearfully away in his labyrinthine palace ; 'tis the airand 
light he seeks, and his life has heaven for its witness. 

525 'Xwas in such wise, methinks, they lived whom'* 
the primal age produced, in friendly intercourse with 
gods. They had no blind love of gold ; no sacred 
boundary-stone, judging betwixt peoples, separated 
fields oil the spreading plain ; not yet did rash vessels 
plough the sea ; each man knew only his native 
waters. Then cities were not surrounded with massive 
walls, set with many towers ; no soldier applied his 
fierce hand to arms, nor did hurling engines burst 
through closed gates with heavy stones. Not yet 
did earth, suffering a master's rule, endure the hard 
toil of the yoked ox ; but the fields, fruitful of them- 
selves, fed nations who asked nothing more ; the 
woods gave men their natural wealth, and shady caves 
afforded natural homes. 

^® Unholy passion for gain broke up this peaceful 
life, headlong wrath, and lust which sets men's hearts 
aflame. Next came cruel thirst for power; the 
weaker was made the stronger's prey, and might 



pro iure vires esse, turn primum manu 

bellare nuda ^ saxaque et ramos rudes 

vei'tere in arma. non erat gracili levis 

armata ferro cornus aut longo latus 

mucrone cingens ensis aut crista procul 

galeae comantes ; tela faciebat dolor. 

invenit artes bellicus Mavors novas 550 

et mille formas mortis, hinc terras cruor 

infecit omnes fusus et rubuit mare. 

tum scelera dempto fine per cuiictas domos 

iere, nullum caruit exemplo nefas. 

a fratre frater, dextera nati parens 

cecidit, maritus coniugis ferro iacet 

perimuntque fetus impiae matres suos. 

taceo novercara ; mitior nil est feris. 

sed dux malorum femina ; haec scelerum artifex 

obsedit animos, huius incestis stuprls 560 

fumant tot urbes, bella tot gentes gerunt 

et versa ab imo regna tot populos premunt. 

sileantur aliae ; sola coniunx Aegei, 

Medea, reddet feminas dirum genus. 


Cur omnium fit culpa paucarum scelus 


Detestor omnes, horreo fugio execror. 
sit ratio, sit natura, sit dirus furor, 
odisse placuit. ignibus iunges aquas 
et arnica ratibus ante promittet vada 
incerta Syrtis, ante ab extreme sinu 570 

Hesperia Tethys lucidum attoUet diem 

* Leo comments : post nuda hoc fere deiideramus ; tela tum 
saeva manu | aptare adorti. 


took the place of right. At first men fought with 
naked fists, [next they began to lay hand to deadly 
weapons ^] and turned stones and rough clubs to the 
use of arms. As yet there was no light cornel-shaft, 
tipped with tapering iron ; no long, sharp-pointed 
sword hung at the side ; no helmets crested with 
plumes gleamed from afar ; rage furnished arms. War- 
like Mars invented new modes of strife and a thousand 
forms of death. From this source streams of blood 
stained all lands and the sea grew red. Then crime 
stalked imchecked through every home and no im- 
pious deed lacked precedent. Brother was slain by 
brother, father by the hand of son, husband lay dead 
by the sword of wife, and unnatural mothers destroyed 
their own offspring. I say naught of stepmothers ; 
they are no whit more merciful than the beasts. 
But the leader of all wickedness is woman ; 'tis she, 
cunning mistress of crime, besets our minds; 'tis by 
her foul adulteries so many cities smoke, so many 
nations war, so many peoples lie crushed beneath 
the ruins of their kingdoms, utterly o'erthrown. Let 
others be unnamed ; Aegeus' wife alone, Medea, will 
prove that women are an accursed race. 


Why make the crime of few the blame of all } 


I abominate them all, I dread, shun, curse them 
all. Be it reason, be it instinct, be it wild rage : 'tis 
my joy to hate them. Sooner shall you mate fire 
and water, sooner shall the daigerous Syrtes offer 
to ships a friendly passage, sooner shall Tethys from 

^ Translating Leo's suggested interpolation. 


et ora dammis blanda praebebunt lupi, 
quam victus animum feminae mitem geram. 


Saepe obstinatis induit frenos Amor 
et odia mutat. regna materna aspice ; 
illae feroces sentiunt Veneris iugum. 
testaris istud unicus gentis puer. 


Solamen unum matris amissae fero, 
odisse quod iam feminas omnes licet. 


Vt dura cautes undique intractabilis 580 

resistit undis et lacessentes aquas 
longe remittit, verba sic spernit mea. 

Sed Phaedra praeceps graditur, impatiens morae. 
quo se dabit fortuna ? quo verget furor ? 
terrae repente corpus exanimum accidit 
et ora morti similis obduxit color, 
attolle vultus, dimove vocis moras, 
tuus en, alumna, temet Hippolytus tenet. 


her far western shore bring in bright dawn, and 
wolves gaze on does witli eyes caressing, than I, my 
hate o'ercomCj have kindly thought for woman. 


Oft-times doth Love put curb on stubborn hearts 
and change their hate. Look at thy mother's king- 
dom ; those warlike women feel the yoke of Venus. 
Thou bcarest witness to this, of her race the only 


I count it the one solace for my lost mother, that 
now I may hate all womankind. 

NURSK [aside] 

As some hard crag, on all sides unassailable, resists 
the waves, and flings far back the flood importunate, 
so does he spurn my words. 

583 But Phaedra is hurrying towards us, impatient 
of delay. Whither will fortune go ? Whither will 
madness tend ? 

[pH&EDRA enters and falls as in a swoon.] 

Her fainting body has fallen suddenly to earth and 
death-like pallor has overspread her face. 

[HIPPOLYTUS hastens to raise her in his arms.] 

Lift thy face, break silence. See, my daughter, thine 
own Hippolytus embraces thee. 

^ It is said that the Amaaons were accnstomed to kill all 
boys born to them. HippolytoR, being the son of Theseus, had 
been spared. 




Quis me dolori redclit atque aestus graves 
reponit animo ? quam bene excideram mihi ! 590 


Cur dulce munus redditae lucis fugis ? 


Aude, anime, tempta, perage mandatum tuum. 
intrepida constent verba ; qui timide rogat 
docet negare. magna pars sceleris mei 
olim peraeta est ; serus est nobis pudor — 
amavimus nefanda. si coepta exsequor, 
forsan iugali crimen abscondam face, 
honesta quaedam scelera successus facit. 
en incipe, anime ! — Commodes paulum, precor, 
secretus aures. si quis est abeat comes. 600 


En locus ab omni liber arbitrio vacat. 


Sed ora coeptis transitum verbis negant ; 
vis magna vocem mittit et maior tenet. 
vos testor omnes, caelites, hoc quod volo ^ — 604 


Animusne cupiens aliquid effari nequit ? 606 

^ hto deleteg the fragmentary line (605) : me nolle. 


PHAEDRA [recovering] 

Who gives me back to grief and again sets in my 
soul this fever dire? How blest was my uncon- 
sciousness of self I 


Why dost thou shun the sweet boon of life 
restored ? 

PHAEDRA [aside] 

Ojurage ! my soul, essay, fulfil thine own behest. 
Fearless be thy words, and firm ; who makes timid 
request, invites denial. The chief part of my guilt 
is long since accomplished ; too late for me is 
modesty — I have loved basely. If I follow up 
what I have begun, perchance I may hide my sin 
behind the marriage torch. Success makes some 
sins honest. Come now, my soul, begin ! [To hip- 
POLYTus.] Lend ear to me privately a little while, 
I prav. If any comrade of thine is here, let him 


Behold, the place is free from all witnesses. 


But my lips refuse passage to the words I seek 
to frame ; some strong power urges me to speak, and 
a stronger holds me back. I call you all to witness, 
you heavenly powers, that what I wish — 


'ITiy heart desires somewhat and cannot tell it 
out ? ' 




Curae leves locuntur, ingentes stupent. 


Committe curas auribus, mater, meis. 


Matris superbum est nomen et nimium potens ; 
nostros humilius nomen afFectus decet ; 6lO 

me vel sororem, Hippolyte, vel famulam voca^ 
famulamque potius ; omne servitium feram. 
non me per altas ire si iubeas nives, 
pigeat gelatis ingredi Pindi iugis ; 
non, si per ignes ire et infesta agmina, 
cuncter paratis ensibus pectus dare, 
mandata recipe sceptra, me famulam accipe ; 
te imperia i-egere, me decet iussa exsequi ^ 
muliebre non est regna tutari urbium ; 
tu qui iuventae flore primaevo viges 620 

cives paterno fortis imperio rege, 
sinu receptam supplicem ac servani tege. 
miserere viduae — 


Summus hoc omen deus 
avertat ! aderit sospes actutum parens. 


Regni tenacis dominus et tacitae Stygis 
nullam relictos fecit ad superos viam ; 
^ Leo deletes this line. 




Light troubles speak ; the weighty are struck 


Entrust thy troubles to my ears^ mother. 

Mother — that name is too proud and high ; a 
humbler name better suits my feelings. Call me 
sister, Hippolytus, or slave — yes, slave is better ; 
I will endure all servitude. Shouldst thou bid me 
walk through deep-drifted snows, I would not shrink 
from faring along the cold peaks of Pindus ; shouldst 
thou send me through fire and midst deadly battle 
ranksj I would not hesitate to offer my breast to 
naked swords. Take thou in my stead the sceptre 
committed to my care, accept me for thy slave ; it 
becomes thee to bear sway, me, to obey thine orders. 
It is no woman's task to watch o'er royal cities. Do 
thou, in the vigour of thy youth's first bloom, rule 
o'er the citizens, strong in thy father's power; take 
to thine arms thy suppliant, and protect thy slave. 
Pity my widowhood — 


The most high God avert that omen ' In safety 
will my father soon return. 


The overlord of the fast-holding realm and of 
the silent Styx has made no way to the upper world 


thalami remittet ille raptorem sui ? — 
nisi forte amori placidus et Pluton sedet. 


Ilium quidem aequi caelites reducem dabunt. 
sed dum tenebit vota in incerto deus, 630 

pietate caros debita fratres colam 
et te merebor esse ne viduam putes 
ac tibi parentis ipse supplebo locum. 


O spes amantum credula^ o fallax Amor 
satisne dixit ? ^ precibus admotis agam. 

Miserere, tacitae mentis exaudi preces— 
libet loqui pigetque. 


Quodnam islud malum est ? 


Quod in iiovercam cadere vix credas malum. 


Ambigua voce verba perplexa iacis ; 
efFare aperte. 

So A : Leo dixi. 


once quitted ; and wiil he let the robber ^ of his 
couch go back ? Unless, perchance, even Pluto sits 
smiling upon love ! 


Him surely the kindly deities will bring again. 
But while God still holds our prayers in doubt, witli 
due affection will I care for my dear brothers, and 
so deserve of thee that thou shalt not deem thee 
widowed, and myself will fill for thee my father's 

PHAEDRA [aside] 

credulous hope of lovers, O deceitful love ! Has 
he not said enough ? I'll bring my prayers to bear 
upon him and attack. 


''® Have pity ! hearken to the prayers my heart 
may not express. I long — and am ashamed — to speak. 


What, pray, is this thy trouble ? 


A trouble thou wouldst scarce believe could befall 
a stepmother. 


Words of doubtful meaning thou utterest with 
riddling lips. Speak out and plainly. 

^ See Index t.v. "Firithoiis," and 1. 9S, note. 

1 Sa S69 



Pectus insanum vapor 640 

amorque torret. intimis fervet ferus ^ 
visceribus ignis mersus et venas latens 643 

ut agilis altas flamma percurrit trabes. 


Amore nempe Thesei casto furis ? 


Hippolyte, sic est : Thesei vultus amo 
illos priores quos tulit quondam puer, 
cum prima puras barba signaret genas 
monstrique caecam Cnosii vidit domum 
et longa curva fila eollegit via. 650 

quis turn ille fulsit ! presserant vittae comam 
et ora flavus tenera tinguebat pudor ; 
inerant lacertis mollibus fortes tori; 
tuaeque Phoebes vultus aut Phoebi mei, 
tuusque potius — talis, en talis fuit 
cum placuit hosti, sic tulit celsum caput, 
in te magis i*efulget incomptus decor ; 
est genitor in te totus et torvae tamen 
pars aliqua matris miscet ex aequo decus ; 
in ore Graio Scythicus apparet rigor. 660 

si cum parente Creticum intrasses fretum, 
tibi fila potius nostra nevisset soror. 
te, te, soror, quacumque siderei poli 
in parte fulges, invoco ad causam parem. 
domus sorores una corripuit duas : 
te genitor, at me natus. 

1 Leo deletes I. 642; penitus medullas atque per venas 



'Tis burning love scorches my maddened heart. A 
hot fire glows deep in my inmost vitals and hides 
darkly in my veins, as when nimble flames dart 
through deep-set timbers. 


'Tis with pure love for Theseus thou dost burn ? 


Hippolytus, 'tis thus with me : Theseus* features 
I love, those former looks of his which once as a 
youth he had, when his first beard marked his smooth 
cheeks, when he looked on the dark home of the 
Cretan monster, and gathered in the long thread 
o'er the winding way. How glorious was he then ! 
Fillets bound his locks, and his young face glowed 
with the blush of modesty ; strong muscles lay 
beneath the softness of his arms ; and his features 
were as of thy Phoebe or of my Phoebus — or, rather, 
were thy own. Such, yes, such was he when he won 
his foeman's ^ favour ; just so he bore his head erect. 
In thee more brightly shines a beauty unadorned ; 
all of thy sire is in thee, and yet some portion of thy 
mother's sternness blends with an equal charm ; on 
Grecian face shows Scythian austerity. If with thy 
father thou hadst come to the shores of Crete, for 
thee and not for him would my sister have spun 
the thread. Thee, thee, O sister, wherever amidst 
the starry heavens thou shinest, I call to aid for a 
cause like to thine own. One house has ruined two 
sisters : thee, the father, but me, the son. 
[She kneels to hippolytus.] 

i.e. Ariadne, daughter of the foe of Athena. 



En supplex iacet 
adlapsa genibus regiae proles domus. 
respersa nulla labe et intacta, innocens 
tibi mutor uni. cei'ta descend! ad pieces ; 
finem hie dolori faciet aut vitae dies. 670 

miserere amantis — 


Magne regnator deum, 
tam lentus audis scelera ? tam lentus vides? 
et quando saeva fulmen emittes manu, 
si nunc serenum est ? omnis inipulsus ruat 
aether et atris nubibus coiidat diem, 
ae versa retro sidera obliques agant 
retorta cursus. tuque, sidereum caput, 
radiate Titan, tu nefas stirpis tuae 
speculare? lucem merge et in tenebras fuge. 
cur dextra, divum rector atque hominum, vacat 680 
taa nee trisulca mundus ardescit face ? 
in me tona, me fige, me velox cremet 
transactus ignis, sum nocens, merui mori ; 
placui novercae. 

Dignus en stupris ego ? 
scelerique tanto visus ego solus tibi 
materia facilis ? hoc meus meruit rigor ? 
o scelere vincens omne femineum genus, 
o mains ausa matre monstrifera malum ^ 
genetrice peior ! ilia se tantum stupro 
contaminavit, et tamen taciturn diu 690 

crimen biformi partus exJiibuit nota 
scelusque matris arguit vultu truci 
ambiguus infans — ille te venter tulit. 

^ Leo delete* this line. 




•*• See, a king's daughter lies fallen at thy knees, 
a suppliant. Without spot or stain, pure, innocent, 
I am changed for thee alone. With fixed purpose 
have I humbled myself to prayer ; this day shall 
bring an end either to my misery or my life. Have 
pity on her who loves — 


Great niler of the gods, dost thou so calmly hear 
crimes, so calmly look upon them? And when 
wilt thou send forth thy thunderbolt with angry 
hand, if now 'tis cloudless? Let all the sky fall in 
shattered ruin, and in murky clouds hide the day ; 
let the stars be turned backward and, wrenched 
aside, go athwart their courses. And thou, star of 
stars, O radiant Sun, dost thou behold this shame 
of thy race? Hide thy light and take refuse in 
darkness. Why is thy right hand empty, O ruler of 
gods and men r why is not the world in flames by thy 
rorked lightning ? Me let thy thunder smite, pierce 
me, me let thy swift-darting fire consume. I am 
guilty, I have deserved to die ; I have stirred my 
-tepmother to love. 


•s* Look thou ! Am I fitted for adulteries ? For 
such crime did I alone seem to thee an easv instru- 
ment r Hath my austerity earned this ? O thou, who 
hast outsinned the whole race of women, who hast 
dared a greater evil than thy monster-bearing mother, 
thou worse than she who bore thee ! She did but 
pollute herself with her shameful lust, and yet her 
offspring by its two-shaped infamy displayed her 
crmie, though long concealed, and by his fierce 
visage the hybrid child made clear his mother's 
guilt. That was the womb that bore thee. Oh, 


o ter quaterque prospero fato dati 
quos hausit et peremit et leto dedit 
odium dolusque. genitor, invideo tibi ; 
Colchide noverca mains haec, maius malum est. 


Et psa nostrae fata cognosco domus : 
fugienda petimus ; sed mei non sum potens. 
te vel per ignes^ per mare insanum sequar 700 

rupesque et amnes, unda quos torrens rapit ; 
quacumque gressus tuleris hac amens agar — 
iterum, superbe, genibus advolvor tuis. 


Procul impudicos corpore a casto amove 
tactus. quid hoc est ? etiam in amplexus ruit ? 
stringatur ensis, merita supplicia exigat. 
en impudicum crine eontorto caput 
laeva reflexi. iustior numquam focis 
datus tuis est sanguis, arquitenens dea. 


Hippolyte, nunc me compotem voti facis ; 710 
sanas furentem. maius hoc voto meo est, 
salvo ut pudore manibus immoriar tuis. 


Abscede, vive ne quid exores, et hie 
con tactus ensis desei'at castum latus. 


thrice and again blest of fate are they whom hatred 
and treachery have destroyed, consumed, and given 
unto death I O father. I envy thee ; than thy Colchian 
stepdame ^ this is a curse, greater, greater far ! 

I, too, recognize the fortune of my house : we 
seek what we should shun ; but I am not mistress 
of myself. Thee even through fire, through the 
mad sea will I pursue, yes, over crags and rivers, 
swollen by torrent streams ; where'er thou shalt 
direct thy steps, there will I madly rush. Once 
more, proud man, I grovel at thy feet. 


Away with thy impure touch from my chaste 
body ! What .'' Even rush into my arms ! Out, 
sword, and mete her just punishment. See, with 
left hand in her twisted hair have I bent back her 
shameless head. Never has blood been more justly 
spilled upon thy altar, O goddess of the bow. 


Hippolytus, now dost thou grant me fulfilment 
of mv prayer ; thou healest me of my madness. This 
is beyond my prayer, that, with my honour saved, 
'tis by thy hands 1 die. 

[She grasps the stvord and points it at her breast. ] 


Begone, live, lest thou have thy wish ; and let this 
sword, polluted by thy touch, quit my chaste side. 
[He thron'S his sword from Aiwj.] 
• Medea, who had tried to murder Theseus. 


quis eluet me Tanais aut quae barbaris 
Maeotis undis Pontico incumbens man? 
non ipse toto magnus Oceano pater 
tantum expiarit sceleris. o silvae, o ferae I 


Deprensa culpa est. anime, quid segnis stupes ? 
regeramus ipsi crimen atque ultro impiara 720 

Venerem arguamus. scelere velaiidum est scelus; 
tutissimum est inferre, cum timeas, gradum. 
ausae priores simus an passae nefas, 
secreta cum sit culpa, quis testis sciet? 

Adeste, Athenae ! fida famulorum nianus, 
fer opem ! nefandi raptor Hippolytus stupri 
instat premitque, mortis intentat metum, 
ferro pudicam terret — en praeceps abit 
ensemque trepida liquit attonitus fuga. 
pignus tenemus sceleris. banc maestam prius 730 
recreate, crinis tractus et lacerae comae 
ut sunt remaneantj facinoris tanti notae. 
perferte in urbem. recipe iam sensus, era. 
quid te ipsa lacerans omnium aspectus fugis ? 
mens inpudicam facere, non casus solet. 

U'hat TanaTs will cleanse me, what Maeotis, with its 
barbaric waves rushing into the Pontic sea ? Not 
great Father Neptune's self, with his whole ocean, 
could wash away so much of guilt. O woods! O beasts I 

[f/e rushes off into the depths of the forest. "^ 

Her sin has been found out. O soul, why dost 
stand inactive and aghast ? We must throw the 
crime back on him himself, and ourselves charge him 
with incestuous love. Crime must be concealed by 
crime. 'Tis safest, when in fear, to force the attack. 
Whether we first dared the sin or suffered it, since 
it was done in secret, who of his own knowledge is 
to testify ? 

[She raises her voice in loud outcryjj 

"^ Help, Athens, help ! Faithful band of slaves, 
come to our aid ! The ravisher, Hippolytus, with 
vile, lustful intent, is after us ; he is upon us and 
threatens us with death ; with the sword he is terri- 
fying our chaste queen — ah ! he has rushed headlong 
forth and, dazed, in panic flight, has left his sword. 
We hold the jjroof of guilt. But the stricken queen, 
revive her first. Let her dishevelled hair, her torn 
locks, stay even as they ai-e, the marks of that great 
guilt. Bear her to the city. Now come back to 
consciousness, my mistress. Why dost tear thyself 
and shun the glances of us all ? 'Tis thinking makes 
impure, not circumstance. \^Exeiinl. 




Fugit insanae similis procellae, 
ocior nubes glomerante Coro, 
ocior cursum rapiente flamma, 
Stella cum ventis agitata longos 

porrigit ignes. 740 

Conferat tecum decus omne priscum 
fama miratrix senioiis aevi ; 
pulchrior tanto tua forma lucet, 
clarior quanto micat orbe pleno 
cum suos ignes coeunte cornu 
iunxit et curru properante pernox 
exerit vultus rubicunda Phoebe 
nee tenent stellae faciem minores. 
talis est, primas referens tenebias, 
nuntius noctis, modo lotus undis 750 

Hespei'us, pulsis iterum tenebris 
Lucifer idem. 

Et tu, thyrsigera Liber ab India, 
intonsa iuvenis perpetuum coma, 
tigres pampinea cuspide territans 
ac mitra cohibens cornigerum caput, 
non vinces rigidas Hippolyti comas, 
ne vultus nimium suspicias tuos ; 
omnes per populos fabula distulit 
Phaedrae quern Bromio praetulerit soror. 760 

Anceps forma bonum mortalibus, 

exigui donum breve temporis, 

ut velox celeri pede laberis ! 
Non sic prata novo vere decentia 
aestatis calidae despoliat vapor, 
saevit solstitio cum medius dies 
et noctes brevibus praecipitant rotis ; 



He fled like a raging tempest, swifter than cloud- 
collecting Corus,^ swifter than flame which speeds on 
its way when a star,^ driven by the winds, extends 
its long-trailing fire. 

'*^ Let fame compare with thee ^ all ancient beauty, 
fame, admirer of the olden time ; as much fairer does 
thy beauty shine as gleams more brightly the full- 
orbed moon when with meeting horns she has joined 
her fires, when at the full with speeding chariot 
blushing Phoebe shows her face and the lesser stars 
fade out of sight. Such as he is the messenger of 
night, who brings the first shadows back, Hesperus,* 
frcsh bathed in ocean ; and when the shadows have 
been driven away again, Lucifer ^ also. 

'^3 And thou, Bacchus, from thyrsus-bearing India, 
with unshorn locks, perpetually young, thou who 
frightenest tigers with thy vine-clad spear, and with a 
turban bindest thy horned head — thou wilt not sur- 
pass Hippolytus' crisp locks.' Admire not thou thy 
beauty overmuch ; story has spread through every 
nation whom^ the sister of Phaedra preferred to 

'^^ O beauty, doubtful boon to mortals, brief gift 
for but a little time, how swiftly on quick foot thou 
dost slip away ! 

"^ Not so swiftly are the meadows, beauteous 
with early spring, despoiled by the hot summer's 
glow, when with solstitial fire middav rages, and 
the nights sweep headlong in their brief course. 

1 The north-west wind* * A meteor. 

' Hippolytus. * The evening star. 

* The morning star. 

* i.e. Theseus, whom Ariadne would have preferred to 
Bacchus (Bromius) had not Theseus deserted her. 



languescunt folio ut lilia pallido, 

et gratae capiti deficiunt comae 

et fulgor teneris qui radiat genis 770 

momento rapitur nullaque non dies 

formonsi spolium corporis abstulit. 

res est forma fugax ; quis sapiens bono 

confidat fragili? dum licet, utere. 

tempus te taciturn submit, horaque 

semper praeterita deterior subit. 

Quid deserta petis ? tutior aviis 
non est forma locis. te nemore abdito, 
cum Titan medium constituit diem, 
cingent turba licens Naides improbae, 780 

formonsos solitae claudere fontibus, 
et somnis facient insidias tuis 
lascivae iiemorum deae ^ 
Panas quae Dryades montivagos petunt 
aut te stellifero despiciens polo 
sidus post veteres Arcsdas editum 
currus non poterit flectere candidos. 
et nuper riibuit, nullaque lucidis 
nubes sordidior vultibus obstitit ; 
at nos solliciti numine turbido, 790 

tractam Thessalicis carminibus rati, 
tinnitus dedimus; tu fueras labor 
et tu causa morae, te dea noctium 
dum spectat celeres sustinuit vias. 

Vexent banc faciem frigora parcius, 
haec solem facies rarius appetat ; 
lucebit Pario marmore clarius. 
quam grata est facies torva viriliter 
et pondus veteris triste supercili ! 
Phoebo colla licet splendida compares. 800 

^ Leo deletes this line, 


As lilies wither and their leaves grow pale, so do our 
pleasing locks fall from the head, and the bright glow 
which shines on youthful cheeks is ravished in a 
moment and no day takes not spoil of our body's 
beauty. Beauty is a fleeting thing. Who that is 
wise would trust so frail a blessing ? Enjoy it while 
thou niayest. Time is silently undermining thee, 
and an hour, worse than the last, is ever creeping on. 

""' Why seek desert places ? Beauty is no safer in 
pathless regions. Hide thee in the woods when 
Titan has brought midday, and the saucy Naids, a 
wanton throng, will encompass thee, wont in their 
waters to imprison shapely boys,^ and for thy slumbers 
the frolicsome goddesses of the groves will lay their 
snares, the Dryads, who pursue Pans wandering on 
the mountains. Or else, looking down on thee from 
the starry heavens, the orb ^ that was born after the 
old Arcadians 3 will lose control of her white-shining 
car. And lately she blushed fiery red, though no 
staining cloud obscured her bright face ; but we, 
anxious for our troubled goddess, thinking her harried 
by Thessalian charms, made loud jingling sounds : 
yet 'twas thou* hadst been her trouble, thou the 
cause of her delaying ; while gazing on thee the 
goddess of the night checked her swift coiyse. 

"^^ This face of thine let frosts more rarely ravage, 
let this face more seldom woo the sun ; 'twill shine 
more bright than Parian marble. How pleasing is 
the manly sternness of thy face and the severe 
dignity of thine old-seeming brow ! With Phoebus 
mayst thou match that gleaming neck. Him locks 
^ The poet has in mind tlie case of Hylas. 

* Luna. The reference is to Luna and Endymion. 

' The Arcadians were said to be older than the moon. 

* The chorus concludes that it was Hippolytus, and not 
Endymion, who of late had caused the moon's perturbations. 



ilium caesaries nescia colligi 

perfundens umeros ornat et integit ; 

te frons hirta decet, te brevior coma 

nulla lege iacens. tu licet asperos 

pugnacesque deos viribus audeas 

et vasti spatio vincere corporis ; 

aequas Herculeos nam iuvenis toros, 

Martis belligeri pectore latior. 

si dorse libeat cornipedis vehi, 

frenis Castorea mobilior manu 810 

Spartanum poteris flectere Cyllaron. 

amentum digitis tende prioribus 

et totis iaculum dirige viribus; 

tam longe, dociles spicula figere, 

non mittent gracilem Cretes harundinem. 

aut si tela mode spargere Parthico 

in caelum placeat, nulla sine alite 

descendent, tepido viscere condita 

praedam de mediis nubibus afferent. 

Raris forma viris (saecula prospice) 820 

inpunita fuit. te melior deus 

tutura praetereat formaque nobilis 

deformis senii limina transeat.^ 
Quid sinat inausum feminae praeceps furor ? 
nefauda iuveni crimina insonti apparat. 
en scelera ! quaerit crine lacerato fidem, 
decus omne turbat capitis, umectat genas. 
instruitur omni fraude feminea dolus. 

Sed iste quisnam estj regium in vultu decus 
* So A : Leo monstret imaginem. 


that will not be confined, streaming o'er his shoulders, 
adorn and robe ; but thee a shaggy broAV, thee 
shorter locks, lying in disarray, become. 'Tis thine 
with manly strength to dare meet the rough and 
warlike gods and by the spread of thy huge body 
to overcome them ; for even in youth thou dost 
match the muscles of a Hercules, art broader of chest 
than war- waging Mars. Shouldst thou be pleased to 
ride a horn-footed horse, with hand more agile on the 
rein than Castor's thou couldst guide the Spartan 
Cyllarus. Stretch thong with thy first fingers^ and 
shoot the dart straight with all thy might ; still not 
so far, though skilled to hurl the dart, will Cretans 
send the slender shaft. Or should it j)lease thee 
to shoot thy arrows into the sky, in Parthian fashion, 
none will come down without its bird, but, deep 
fixed in the warm breast, will bring prey from the 
very clouds. 

820 "Pq fg^ fj^pjj hath beauty (scan the ages past) 
not brought its penalty. May God, more merciful, 
pass thee by unharmed, and may thy illustrious 
beauty pass the threshold o'er of shapeless age. 

824 What would the woman's headlong madness 
leave undared ? She is preparing outrageous charges 
against this guileless youth. Behold her guilty wiles ' 
By her torn hair she seeks to be believed ; she dis- 
orders all the glory of her locks, bedews her cheeks 
with tears. She is marshalling her plot by every art 
that woman knows. 

[A man is seen approaching who proves to be theseus.] 

8^ But who is this, wearing a regal dignity on his 

^ i.e. the thumb and forefinger. 



gerens et alto vertice altoUens caput ? 830 

ut ora iuveni paria Peritlioo gerit, 
ni languido pallore canderent genae 
staretque recta squalor incultus coma, 
ei) ipse Theseus redditus terris adest. 


Tandem profugi noctis aeternae plagam 
vastoque manes carcere umbrantem polum, 
et vix cupitum sufFerunt oculi diem. 
iam quaita Eleusin dona Triptolemi secat 
paremque totiens libra composuit diem, 
ambiguus ut me sortis ignotae labor 840 

detinuit inter mortis et vitae mala. 
pars una vitae mansit extincto mihi : 
sensus malorum. finis Alcides fuit, 
qui cum revulsum Tartaro abstraheret canem, 
me quoque supernas pariter ad sedes tulit. 
sed fessa virtus robore antiquo caret 
trepidantque gressus. heu, labor quantus fuit 
Phlegethonte ab imo petere longinquum aethera 
pariterque mortem fugere et Alciden sequi. 

Quis fremitus aures flebilis pepulit meas ? 850 

expromat aliquis. luctus et lacrimae et dolor, 
in limine ipso maesta lamentatio ? 
auspicia ^ digna prorsus inferno hospite. 


Tenet obstinatum Phaedra consilium necis 
fletusque nostros spernit ac morti imminet. 

^ hospitia Orotius. 


face and with head borne high ? How like the 
young Pirithoiis he is in countenance, were his 
cheeks not so deathly pale and did not unkempt 
squalor stiifen in his bristling hair. See, it is Theseus 
himself, restored to the upper world. 

At last have I escaped the realm of eternal night, 
the dark world which in vast prison-house o'ershades 
the dead, and scarcely do my eyes endure the longed- 
for light. Now for the fourth time is Eleusis harvest- 
ing the bounty of Triptolemus,^ as many times has 
Libra made day equal unto night, since dubious 
battling with an unknown fate has kept me between 
the ills of death and life. Though dead to all things 
else, one part of life remained to me — my sense of ills. 
Alcides was the end, who, when he dragged the dog 
by violence out of Taitarus, brought me, too, along 
with him to the upper world. But my strength is 
spent, has lost its old-time vigour, and my steps do 
falter. Alas, how hard a struggle it was from lowest 
Phlegethon to attain the far realms of air, at once 
to flee from death and follow Hercules I 

^^° But what is this tearful outcry that strikes my 
ears } Let someone tell me. Grieving and tears and 
woe, and on my very threshold sad lamentation ? — 
auspices that well befit a guest from hell. 


Phaedra holds unbending purpose of self-murder; 
she scorns our tears and is on the very edge of 

' Wheat: see Index i.v. " Triptolemus." 

I SB 385 



Quae causa leti ? reduce cur moritur viro ? 


Haec ipsa letum causa maturum attulit. 


Perplexa magnum verba nescio quid tegunt. 
effare aperte quis gravet mentem dolor. 


Haut pandit ulli ; niaesta secretum occulit 8fciO 
statuitque secuni ferre quo moritur malum, 
iam perge, quaeso, perge ; properato est opus. 


Resei*ate clausos regii postes laris. 

O socia thalarai, sicine adventum viri 
et expetiti coniugis vultum excipis ? 
quin ense viduas dexteram atque animum mihi 
restituis et te quidquid e vita fugat 
expromis ? 


Eheu, per tui sceptrima imperi, 
magnanime Theseu, perque natorum indolem 
tuosque reditus perque iam cineres meos, 870 

permitte mortem. 



What cause for death ? Why die, now that her 

husband is come back ? 


That very cause has brought with it speedy death. 


Thy riddling words some weighty matter hide. 
Tell me plainly what grief weighs on her mind. 

Siie discloses it to none ; though sorrowing, she 
hides her secret grief and is resolved to take with 
her the woe whereof she dies. But come now, I pray 
thee, come ; there is need of haste. 


Unbar the closed portals of the royal house. 

[The doors are thrown open and theseus encounters his 
wife Just rviihin.^ 

*** O partner of my couch, is it thus thou welcomest 
thy lord's return and the face of thy long-sought 
husband ? Come, put away the sword from thy right 
hand, give me heart again, and whatever is driving 
thee out of life, declare it. 


Alas, O Theseus, great of soul, by the sceptre of 
thy kingdom, by thy children's lives, by thy return, 
and by my body already doomed to dust, allow my 




Causa quae cogit mori ? 


Si causa leti dicitur, fructus perit. 


Nemo istud alius, me quidem excepto, audiet. 


Aures pudica coniugis solas timet. 


Eflfare ; fido pectore arcana occulam. 


Alium silere quod voles, primus sile. 


Lett facultas nulla continget tibi, 


Mori volenti desse mors numquam potest. 


Quod sit luendum morte delictum indica. 


Quod vivo, 



What cause forces thee to die ? 


If the cause of my death is told, its fruit is lost. 


No one else shall hear it, save myself 


A chaste woman dreads her husband's ears alone. 


Speak out; in my true heart will I hide thy 


Where thou wouldst have another silence keep, 
keep silence first thyself. 


No means of death shall be granted unto thee. 


If one wills to die, death can never fail. 


Tell me what sin is to be purged by death. 


That I still live. 




Lacrimae nonne te nostrae movent ? 880 


Mors optima est perire lacrimandum suis. 


Silere pergit. verbere ac vinclis anus 
altrixque prodet quidquid haec fari abnuit, 
vincite ferro. verbeium vis extrahat 
secreta mentis. 


Ipsa iam fabor, marcj 


Quidnam ora macsta avertis et laciimas genis 
subito coortas veste praetenta optegis ? 


Te, te, creator caelitum, testem invoco 
et te, coruscum lucis aetheriae iubar, 
ex cuius ortu ^ nostra dependet domus, 89O 

temptata precibus restiti ; ferro ac minis 
non cessit animus ; vim tamen corpus tulit. 
labem banc pudoris eluet noster ciuor. 


Quis, ede, nostri decoris eversor fuit ? 

^ Leo conjectures ex quibus utrimque. 



Do not my tears move thee ? 


'Tis best to die a death to be wept by friends. 


She persists in silence. Tlien by scourge and bonds 
shall her old nurse reveal whatever she will not 
tell. [To attendants.] Bind her with chains. Let the 
power of the scourge drag forth the secrets of her 


Hold ! I will myself confess. 


Why dost turn away thy sorrowing face and hide 
with veiling robe the tears that suddenly o'erflow 
thy cheeks ? 


Thee, thee, O sire of the heavenly gods, I call 
to witness, and thee/ bright radiance of celestial 
light, on whom as founder this house of ours de- 
pends — though sorely tempted, I withstood his 
prayers ; to sword and threats my soul yielded not ; 
yet did my body bear his violence. This stain of 
shame shall my blood wash away. 


Who, tell me, was the destroyer of my honour ? 
' Phoebus, the father of Phaedra's mother, Pasiphae. 




Quem rere minime. 


Quis sit audire expeto. 


Hie dicet ensis quem tumultu territus 
liquit stuprator civium accursum timens. 


Quod faeinus, heu me, cerno ? quod monstrum 
intuor ? 
regale parvis asperum signis ebur 
capulo refulget, generis Actaei decus. 900 

sed ipse quonam evasit ? ' 


Hi trepidum fiiga 
videre famuli concitum celeri pede. 


Pro sancta Pietas, pro gubernator poli 
et qui secundum fluctibus regnum moves, 
unde ista venit generis infandi lues ? 
hunc Graia tellus aluit an Taurus Scythes 
Colchusque Phasis? redit ad auctores genus 
stirpemque primam degener sanguis refeit. 
est prorsus iste gentis armiferae furor, 



Whom thou least thinkest. 


Who is he ? I demand to hear. 

This sword will tell, which, in his panic terror, 
the ravisher left behind, fearing the gathering of the 

Ah me! What villainy do I behold? What 
monstrous thing do I see ? The royal hilt of ivory, 
embossed with tiny figures, gleams before me, the 
glory of the Athenian race. But he, whither has he 
escaped .'' 


The slaves, here, saw him speeding swift away 
in headlong flight. 

O holy Piety, O ruler of the heavens, and thou * 
who with thy billows dost sway the second realm, 
whence came this infection of infamy in our stock ? 
Was that man nurtured by the land of Greece or 
by the Scytliian Taurus and Gslchian Phasis ? The 
breed reverts to its progenitors and debased blood 
reproduces the primal stock. This, truly, is the 
madness ot that warlike race,* to contemn Venus' 

^ Neptune. For the "second realm" see Index t.v. "Nep- 

* The AmasoDB. 


odisse Veneris foedera et castum diu 9IO 

vulgare populis corpus, o tetrum genus 
nullaque victura lege melioris soli ! 
ferae quoque ipsae Veneris evitant nefas 
generisque leges inscius servat pudor. 
ubi vultus ille et ficta maiestas viri 
atque habitus horrens^ prisca et antiqua appetens 
morumque senium triste et affectus graves ? 
o vita fallax, abditos sensus geris 
animisque pulchram turpibus faciem induis : 
pudor impudentem celat, audacem quies, 920 

pietas nefandum ; vera fallaces probant 
simulantque molles dura. 

Silvarum incola 
ille efFeratus castas intactus rudis, 
mihi te reservas .'' a meo primum tore 
et scelere tanto placuit ordiri virum } 
iam iam superno numini grates ago, 
quod icta nostra cecidit Antiope manu, 
quod non ad antra Stjgia descendens tibi 
matrem reliqui. profugus ignotas procul 
percurre gentes ; te licet terra ultimo 930 

summota mundo dirimat Oceani plagis 
orbemque nostris pedibus obversum colas, 
licet in recessu penitus extremo abditus 
horrifera celsi regna transieris poli 
hiemesque supra positus et canas nives 
gelidi frementes liqueris Boreae minas 
post te furentes, sceleribus poenas dabis. 

laws and to prostitute the long-chaste body to the 
crowd. O abominable race, yielding to no laws of 
a better land ! Even the very beasts do shun in- 
cestuous love, and instinctive chastity guards Nature's 
laws. Where are those features, that feigned aus- 
terity of the man, that rough garb, aping old-fashioned 
and archaic ways ? Where thy stern manners and 
the sour severity of age ? O two-faced life, thou 
keepest thy true thoughts hidden and dost clothe 
foul purpose with an aspect fair — chaste bearing 
hides unchastity ; meekness, effrontery ; piety, sin 
unspeakable ; false men approve truth and the soft 
affect hardihood. 

"22 O thou lover of the woods, the boasted wild man 
continent, rough, unstained, is it for me thou keepst 
thyself in check ? With my couch, by such crime as 
this, was it thy pleasure to make first test of man- 
hood.'' Now, now I give thanks to the heavenly 
powers that Antiope fell stricken by my hand, and 
that, descending to the Stygian pit, I did not leave 
to thee thy mother. Fugitive, traverse nations 
remote, unknown ; though a land on the remotest 
confines of the world hold thee separated by Ocean's 
tracts, though thou take up thy dwelling in the 
world opposite our feet, though thou escape to the 
shuddering realms of the high north and hide deep 
in its farthest corner, and though, placed beyond 
the reach of winter ^ and his hoar snows, thou leave 
behind thee the threatening rage of cold Boreas 
' i.e. iu the Hyperborean regions. 


profugum per omnes pertinax latebras premam ; 
longinqua clausa abstrusa diversa invia 
emetiemur, nullus obstabit locus — 940 

scis unde redeam. tela quo mitti baud queunt, 
hue vota mittam. genitor aequoreus dedit 
ut vota prono terna coneipiam deo, 
et invocata munus hoc sanxit Styge. 

En perage donum triste, regnator freti ! 
non cernat ultra lucidum Hippolytus diem 
adeatque manes iuvenis iratos patri. 
fer abominandam nunc opera nato, parens ; 
numquam supremum numhiis munus tui 
consumeremus, magna ni premerent mala ; 950 

inter profunda Tartara et Ditem horridum 
et imminentes regis inferni minas, 
voto peperci. redde nunc pactam fidem. 
genitor, moraris ? cur adhuc undae silent ? 
nunc atra ventis nubila impellentibus 
subtexe noctem, sidera et caelum eripe, 
effunde pontum, vulgus aequoreum cie 
fluctusque ab ipso tumid us ^ Oceano voca. 


O magna parens, Natura^ deum 
tuque igniferi rector Olympi, Q60 

qui sparsa cito sidera mundo 
cursusque vagos rapis astrorum 
celerique polos cardine versas, 
1 So Leo : E tumidoa. 


still shalt thou pay penalty for thy crime. Fugitive, 
through all thy hiding-places untiringly will I pursue 
thee; regions remote, blocked, hidden away, far 
separate, trackless, will I traverse, and no place shall 
stop me — thou knowest whence I am returned. 
Whither weapons cannot be hurled, thither will I 
hurl my prayers. My father of the sea granted me 
thrice to fashion prayers whereto the god would bow, 
and, calling upon Styx, confirmed the boon. 


^^ Now fulfil the sad ^ boon, O ruler of the sea ! Let 
Hippolytus see the bright day no more, and in youth 
pass to the ghosts that are wrathful with his sire. 
Now bring aid, which my soul abhors, O father, to 
thy son; never should I squander this last boon ^ of 
thine, did not great ills o'erwhelm ; in depths of 
Tartarus, in presence of dread Dis, and imminent 
menace of hell's lord, I was sparing of this prayer. 
Keep now thy promised faith. Father, dost thou 
delay.'' Why are thy waves yet silent.'' Now veil 
the night with dark clouds driven by the winds ; 
snatch stars and sky from sight ; pour forth the deep ; 
and, rising high, summon the floods from Ocean's 

O Nature, mighty mother of the gods, and thou, 
fire-bearing Olympus' lord, who through the swift 
firmament whirlest the scattered stars, and the 
wandering courses of the planets, who makest the 
heavens on swift axis turn, why dost thou take such 

^ Because a father is asking the death of his son. 

* Theseus has already used two of his wishes, the first when 
he set out from Troezen to Athens, and the second when he 
was in the labyrinth. 



cur tanta tibi cura perennes 

agitaie vias aetheris alti, 

ut nunc canae frigora brumae 

nudent silvas, nunc arbustis 

redeant umbrae^ nunc aestivi 

colla leonis Cerereni magno 

fervore coquant viresque suas 970 

temperet annus ? 

sed cur idem qui tanta regis, 

sub quo vasti pondera mundi 

librata suos ducunt orbes, 

hominum nimium securus abes, 

non sollicitus prodesse bonis, 

nocuisse malls ? 

Res humanas ordine nullo 
Fortuna regit sparsitque manu 
munera caeca, peiora fovens ; 980 

vincit sanctos dira libido, 
fraus sublimi regnat in aula, 
tradere turpi fasces pojmlus 
gaudet, eosdem colit atque odit. 
tristis virtus perversa tulit 
praemia recti ; castos sequitur 
mala paupertas vitioque potens 
regnat adulter. 
o vane pudor lalsumque decus ! 

Sed quid citato nuntius properat gradu 
rigatque maestis lugubrem vultum genis ? 990 


O sors acerba et dura, famulatus gravis, 
cur me ad nefandum nuntium casus vocat ? 

care to keep perpetual the pathways of the lofty 
sky, that now the hoar frosts of winter may strip the 
woods, now to the plantations their umbrage come 
again, that now in summer the Lion's fervent heat 
may ripen the grain and the year regulate its powers ? 
But why, again, dost thou, who holdest so 'ivide sway, 
and by whose hands the ponderous masses of the 
vast universe are poised and wheel their appointed 
courses — ^why dost thou dwell afar, all too indifferent 
to men, not anxious to bring blessing to the good, 
and to the evil, bane ? 

*'^ Fate without order rules the affairs of men, 
scatters her gifts with unseeing hand, fostering the 
worse ; dire lust prevails against pure men, and 
crime sits regnant in the lofty palace. The rabble 
rejoice to give government to the vile, paying high 
honours even where they hate. Warped are the 
rewards of uprightness sad virtue gains; wretched 
poverty dogs the pure, and the adulterer, strong in 
wickedness, reigns supreme. O decency, honour, 
how empty and how false ! 

^^^ But why does yon messenger haste hither with 
rapid pace, his sad countenance wet with grieving 

[£7t/er MESSENGER.] 

O lot bitter and hard, O cruel servitude, why calls 
fate upon me to bear unutterable tidings .'' 




Ne metue clades fortiter fari asperas ; 
non imparatum pectus aerumiiis fero. 


Vocem dolori lingua luctifico negat. 


Proloquere quae sors aggravet quassam domum. 


Hippolytus, heu me, flebili leto occubat. 


Natum parens obisse iam pridem scio ; 
nunc raptor obiit. mortis effare ordinem. 


Vt profugus urbem liquit infesto gradu 1000 

celerem citatis passibus cursum explicans, 
celso sonipedes ocius subigit iugo 
et ora frenis domita substrictis ligat. 
turn multa secum effatus et patrium solum 
abominatus saepe genitorem ciet 
acerque habenis lora permissis quatit ; 
cum subito vastum tonuit ex alto mare 
crevitque in astra. nullus inspirat salo 
ventuS; quieti nulla pars caeli strepit 
placid umque pelagus propria tempestas agit. 1010 




Fear not to speak out boldly the disaster, cruel 
though it be ; I bear a heart not unprepared for 


My tongue refuses utterance to the grief-bringing 

Tell what mischance weighs down this shattered 


Hippolytus, wee is me, lies in lamentable death. 


That his son was dead the sire has long since 
known ; now is the ravisher dead. But tell the 
manner of his end. 


When with troubled steps he left the city, a 
fugitive, unfolding his swift way with flying feet, 
he quickly brought his prancing steeds 'neath the 
high yoke and curbed their mouths with tight- 
drawn reins. Then much did he utter, communing 
with himself, and, cursing his native land, called oft 
upon his sire, and with loose reins fiercely shook the 
iash ; when suddenly from out the deep the vast sea 
thundered and starward heaved itself. No wind was 
blowing on the briny sea, from no quarter of the 
calm sky came the noise, but a self-born ^ tempest 
stirred the peaceful deep. Not so violently does the 
^ i.e. the commotion came from witbia the sea. 

I 2c 401 


non tantus Auster Sicula disturbat freta 
nee tam furens lonius exsurgit sinus 
regnante Coro, saxa cum fluetu tremunt 
et eana summum spuma Leucaten ferit. 
consurgit ingens pontus in vastum aggcrem ; 
tumidumque monstio pelagus in terras ruit.* 

Nee ista ratibus tanta construitur lues ; 
terris minatiir. fliictus baud eursu levi 
provolvitur ; nescio quid onerato sinu 
gravis unda portat. quae novum tell us caput 1020 
ostendit astris ? Cyclas exoritur nova? 
latuere rupes numen ^ Epidauri dei 
et scelere petrae nobiles Scironides 
et quae duobus terra comprimitur fretis.^ 

Haec dum stupentes quaerimus,^ totum en mare 
immugit, omnes undique scopuli astrej)unt ; 
summum cacumen rorat expulso sale, 
spumat vomitque vicibus alternis aquas 
qualis per alta vehitur Oceani freta 
fluctum refundens ore physeter capax. 1030 

inhorruit concussus undarum globus 
solvitque sese et litori invexit malum 
maius timore, pontus in terras ruit 
suumque monstrum sequitur — os quassat tremor, 
quis habitus ille corporis vasti fuit ! 
caerulea taurus colla sublimis gerens 
erexit altam fronte viridanti iubam ; 
stant hispidae aures, orbibus varius color, 
et quern feri dominator habuisset gregis 
et quem sub undis natus — hinc flammam vomunt 1 040 
oculi, hinc relucent caerula insignes nota ; 

* Leo deletes this line. 
^ So A : Leo numine. 

" Leo deletes U. 1022-1024. 

* querimur A. 



south wind distress Sicilia's straits, nor so madly 
does the Ionian sea swell beneath the north-west's 
tyranny, when the cliffs tremble under the shock of 
waves and the white spray smites Leucate's summit. 
The mighty deep heaves up into a huge mound, and 
the sea, swollen with a monstrous birth, rushes to 

^"^^ Nor is that vast destruction piled up for ships ; 
'tis the land it threatens. With no light sweep the 
flood rolls forward ; some strange thing in its bur- 
dened womb the heavy wave is carrying. What new 
land shows its head to the stars .'' Is a new Cyclad 
rising ? The rocks, the sacred seat of the Epidaurian 
god,^ were hid, and the cliffs famous for the crime of 
Sciron, and the land ^ which is hemmed in by tAvo seas. 

1025 While we in dumb amaze are wondering what 
this means, behold, the whole sea bellows, and the 
cliffs on every hand echo back the sound ; the 
highest peak is wet with dashed-up spray ; it foams, 
and then in ti.rn spews back the flood, as when a 
cavernous whale swims through the deep ways of 
ocean, spouting back streams of water from his mouth. 
Then the great globe of waters shivered, shook and 
broke, and brought to the shore a thing more terrible 
than our fear ; the sea rushed landward, following its 
monster. My lips tremble in the telling. How the 
thing looked ! how huge ! A bull it was, tow^ering 
high with a dark blue i;eck, and he reared a high 
mane upon his verdant crest ; his shaggy ears stood 
up ; his eyes flashed with changing colour, now such 
as the lord of a wild herd might have, now such as 
one born beneath the sea — now his eyes dart flame, 
now they flash wondrous with cerulean gleam. His 

* These altar-like rocks were sacred to Aesculapius. 

* Isthmus. 



opima cervix arduos tollit toros 

naresque hiulcis haustibus patulae fremunt ; 

musco tenaci pectus ac palear viret, 

longum rubente spargitur fuco latus. 

turn pone tergus ultima in monstrum coit 

facies et ingens belua immensam trahit 

squamosa partem, talis extreme mari 

pistrix citatas sorbet aut frangit rates. 

tremuere tei*rae, fugit attonitum pecus 1050 

passim per agros nee sues pastor sequi 

meminit iuvencos ; omnis e saltu fera 

diffugitj omnis frigido exsanguis metu 

venator horret. solus immunis metu 

Hippolytus artis continet frenis equos 

pavidosque notae vocis hortatu ciet. 

Est alta ad agros collibus ruptis via, 
vicina tangens spatia suppositi maris ; 
hie se ilia moles acuit atque iras parat. 
at cepit animos seque pi'aetemptans satis IO6O 

prolusit irae, praepeti cursu evolat, 
summam citato vix gradu tangens humum, 
et torva currus ante trepidantes stetit. 
contra feroci natus insurgens minax 
vultu nee ora mutat et magnum intonat : 
" haud frangit animum vanus hie terror meum ; 
nam mihi paternus vincere est tauros labor." 
inobsequentes protinus frenis equi 
rapuere currum iamque derrantes via, 
quacumque rabidos pavidus evexit furor, 1070 

hac ire pergunt seque per scopulos agunt 

At ille, quails turbido rector mari 
ratem retentat, ne det obliquum latus, 



brawny neck with great muscles bulges and his wide 
nostrils roar with his gaping draughts of air. His 
breast and dewlap are green with clinging moss, and 
his long flanks with red seaweed are spotted. His 
hinder parts are joined into monstrous shape, and, 
all scaly, the huge beast drags his measureless length 
along. Such is that sea-monster of the outer ocean 
which swallows or crushes swift-flying ships. The 
lands quaked with fear ; herds fled in frenzy in all 
directions through the fields, and the herdsman forgot 
to follow his cattle. All beasts fled from their wooded 
haunts ; all hunters stood trembling, jiale with chilling 
fear. Hippolytus alone, quite unafraid, with tight 
reins holds fast his horses and, terror-stricken though 
they are, urges them on with the encouragement of 
his familiar voice. 

1057 There is a deep passage towards the fields 
through the broken hills, hard by the neighbouring 
stretches of the sea below. Here that huge creature 
sharjcns his anger and prepares his wrath. When 
he has gained his spirit, and with full trial rehearsed 
his wrath, he darts forth, running swiftly, scarce 
touching the surface of the ground with flying feet, 
and stands, in grim menace, before the trembling 
steeds. Thy son, rising up, confronts him with fierce, 
threatening look, nor does he change countenance, 
but loudly thunders: "This empty terror cannot 
break my spirit, for 'twas my father's task to conquer 
bulls." But straightway his horses, disobedient to 
the reins, seized the chariot and, roaming from the 
road, wherever frenzied terror carried them in their 
mad flight, there they plunged along and dashed 
amid the rocks. 

^^''- But he, as a helmsman holds his ship steady on 
the boisterous sea, lest it give its side to the waves, 


et arte fluctum fallit, baud aliter citos 
currus gubernat. ' ora nunc pressis trabit 
constricta frenis, terga nunc torto frequens 
verbere cobercet. sequitur adsiduus comes, 
nunc aequa carpens spatia, nunc contra obvius 
oberrat, omni parte terrorem movens. 

Non licuit ultra fugere, nam toto obvius 1080 

incurrit ore corniger ponti borridus. 
tum vero pavida sonipedes mente exciti 
imperia solvunt seque luctantur iugo 
eripere rectique in pedes iactant onus, 
praeeeps in ora fusus impHcuit cadens 
laqueo tenaci corpus et qua.ito raagis 
pugnat, sequaces hoc magis nodos ligat 
sensere pecudes facinus — et curru levi, 
dominante nullo, qua timor iussit ruunt. 
talis per auras non suum agnoscens onus lOPO 

Solique falso creditum indignans diem 
Pbaetlionta cuitus devio excussit polo, 
late cruentat arva et inlisum caput 
scopulis resultat ; auferunt dumi comas, 
et ora durus pulchra populatur lapis 
peritque multo vulnere infelix decor, 
moribunda celeres membra provolvunt rotae ; 
tandemque raptum truncus ambusta sude 
medium per inguen stipite erecto tenet, 
paulumque domino currus affixo stetit. 1100 

haesere biiuges vulnere — et pariter moram 
dominumque rurr'punt. inde semanimem secant 


and skilfully cheats the floods, in like manner guides 
his swift-moving steeds. Now he drags on their 
mouths checked by the tight-drawn reins, and now, 
oft plying the twisted lash, he forces them to his 
will. His companion ^ holds doggedly in pursuit, 
now racing alongside the horses, now making detour 
to face them, from every side filling them with fear. 
1080 But i^Q^ they could flee no further ; for he 
charged full front upon them, that bristling, homed 
monster of the deep. Then, truly, the plunging 
horses, driven by mad fear, broke from control, 
struggled to wrench their necks from the yoke, and, 
rearing up, hurled their burden to the ground. 
Headlong on his face he plunged and, as he fell, 
entangled his body in the clinging reins ; and the 
more he struggled, the tighter he drew those firm- 
holding coils. The horses felt their deed, and now, 
with the light chariot, since none controlled, wherever 
fear bade on they dashed. Just so, not recognizing 
their wonted burden, and indignant that the day had 
been entrusted to a pretended Sun, the horses ^ flung 
Phaethon far from his heavenly track. Far and 
wide the fields are stained with blood, and his head, 
dashed on the rocks, bounds back from them. The 
brambles pluck away his hair ; the hard stones ravage 
that lovely face, and his ill-fated beauty is ruined by 
many a wound. The swift wheels drag his dying 
limbs ; and at last, as he is whirled along, a tree, its 
trunk charred into a stake, stays him with its stock 
driven right through the groin and holds him 
fast, and for a little while the car stands still, 
held by its impaled master. Awhile that wound 
stays the team — then equally delay and their master, 
too, they break. ^ Thereafter the thickets slash his 
* The monster. * i.e. of the Sun. ' A bold case of zeu<rma. 



virgulta, acutis asperi vepres rubis 

omnisque truncus corporis partem tulit. 

errant per agros funebris famuli manus, 

per ilia qua distractus Hi])polytus loca 

loiigum cruenta tramitem signat nota, 

maestaeque domini inembi-a vestigant canes. 

necdum dolentum sedulus potuit labor 

explere corpus, hociue est formae decus .? 1110 

qui modo patenii clarus imperii comes 

et certus heres siderum fulsit modo, 

passim ad supremos ille colligitur rogos 

et funeri eonfertur. 


O nimium potens, 
quanto parentes sanguinis vinclo tenes, 
natura, quam te colimus inviti quoque. 
oecidere volui noxium, amissum fleo. 


Haud flere honeste quisquam quod voluit potest.^ 


Equidem malorum maximum hunc cumulum reor, 
si abominanda casus optanda effieit. 1120 


Et si odia servas, cur madent fletu genae ? 


Quod interemi, non quod amisi fleo. 

^ So A : Haud odere non est quisque quod voluit potens E: 
Leo corrects, followed by RicJUer, Gaudere non est ipse quod 
voluit potens. 



half-dead body, the rough brambles with their sharp 
thorns tear him, and every tree-trunk has taken its 
toll of him. Now bands of his mourning servants 
are scouring the fields through the places where 
Hippolytus was dragged, marked in a long trail by 
bloody traces, and his whimpering dogs are tracking 
their master's limbs. But not yet has the pains- 
taking toil of his grieving friends availed to fill out 
his body. Has his glorious beauty come to this .'' 
He who but now was the illustrious partner of his 
father's throne, who but now, his acknowledged 
heir, shone like the stars, he is being gathered from 
every hand for his last burning, and collected for his 
funeral pyre. 

THESEUS [/feep/ng] 

O nature, all too potent, with how strong ties of 
blood dost thou hold parents ! how we cherish thee, 
even against our wills! Guilty, I wished him dead; 
lost, I lament him. 


Not rightfully may any weep what he has willed. 


Truly I deem this the crowning woe of woes, 
if fortune makes what we must loathe that we must 
long for. 


If thou still keepst thy hate, why are thy cheeks 
wet with tears ? 


Not that I lost, but that I slew, I weep. 




Quanti casus humana rotant! 
minor in parvis Fortui;a furit 
leviusque ferit leviora deus ; 
servat placidos obscura quies 
praebetque senes casa secures. 

Admota aetheriis culmina sedibus 
Euros excipiunt, excipiunt Notos, 
insani Boreae minas, 1130 

imbriferumque G^rum. 
raros patitur fuhniiiis ictus 
umida vallis ; 
tremuit telo lovis altisoni 
Caucasus ingens Phrygiumque nemiis 
matris Cybeles. metuens caelo 
luppiter alto vicina petit ; 
non capit uniquam magnos motus 
humilis tecti plebeia domus. 
circa regna tonat.^ 1140 

Volat ambigiiis mobilis alis 
bora, nee ulli praestat velox 
Fortuna fidem. 
bic qui clari laetus vidit ^ 
sidera mundi nitidumque diem 
nocte relicta, luget maestos 
tristis reditus ipsoque magis 
flebile Averno sedis patriae 
videt bospitium. 

Pallas Actaeae veneranda genti, 
quod tuus caelum superosque Tbeseus 1 150 

spectat et fugit Stygias paludes, 
casta, nil debes patruo rapaci ; 
constat inferno numerus tyranno. 
I Leo deletes this line. ^ Leo supplies laetus vidit. 




How chance whirls round the affairs of men I 
Less does fortune rage midst humble folk, and 
more lightly God smites the more lightly blessed. 
Unnoticed ease keeps men in pi ace and a cottage 
bi'stows age untroubled. 

1128 Yi^g mountain -peaks, lifted to airy heights, 
catch east, catch south winds, ma;l Boreas' threats, 
and the rain-fraught north-west gale. Seldom does 
the moist valley suffer the lightning's blast ; but 
Caucasus the huge, and the Phrygian grove of 
mother Cybele, quake beneath the bolt of high- 
thundering Jove. For in jealous fear Jove aims at 
that which neighbours on liigh heaven ; but the low- 
roofed, common home ne'er feels his mighty blasts 
Around thrones he thunders. 

^^*^ On doubtful -svings flies the inconstant hour, 
nor does swift Fortune pledge loyalty to any. He ^ 
who with joy beheld the clear, starry skies and 
briglit day, the night ^ now left behind, in grief is 
lamenting his sorrowful return, and finds his wel- 
come to his father's dwelling more doleful than 
Avernus' self. 

1149 o Pallas, ever to be revered by the Athenian 
race, for that thy Theseus looks on sky and upper 
world and has escaped from the pools of Styx, 
chaste one, thou owest naught to thine uncle, the 
all-devouring ; unchanged the tale ^ remains for the 
infernal king. 

^ Theseus, who has but now returned from Hades. 
- i.e. the darkness of the lower world. 

• i.e. if Theseus has escaped Pluto, Hippolytus has gone to 
fill his place. 


Quae vox ab altis flebilis tectis sonat 
strictoque vaecors Phaedra quid ferro parat ? 


Quis te dolore percitam instigat furor ? 
quid ensis iste quidve vociferatio 
planctusque supra corpus iiuisum volunt ? 


Me, me, profundi saeve dominator freti, 
invade et in me monstra caerulei maris II60 

emitte, quidquid intimo Ttthys sinu 
extrema gestat, quidquid Oceanus vagis 
complexus undis ultimo fluctu tegit. 
o dure Theseu semper, o numquam ad tuos 
tuto reverse, natus et genitor nece 
reditus tuos lucre ; pervertis domum 
amore semper coniugum aut odio nocens. 

Hippolyte, tales intuor vultus tuos 
talesque feci ? membra quis saevus Sinis 
aut quis Procrustes sparsit aut quis Cresius, 1 170 

Daedalea vasto claustra mugitu replens, 
taurus biformis ore cornigero ferox 
divulsit ? heu me, quo tuus fugit decor 
oculique nostrum sidus ? exanimis iaces? 


1164 What voice of wailing sounds fiom the high 
palace ? And what would maddened Phaedra with 
the naked sword ? 

\^Enter phaedra with a drawn sword in her kand.^ 


What fury pricks thee on, wild with grief? 
Why that sword ? What mean thine outcries and 
lamentations over the hated corpse ? 

Me, me, assault, O savage ruler of ocean's depths ; 
against me send forth the blue sea's monsters, what- 
e'er in her inmost womb farthest Tethys bears, 
whate'er in his restless waves' embrace Ocean hides 
in his remotest flood. O Theseus, always harsh, 
who never without harm unto thy loved ones dost 
come back, son and father ^ have paid for thy home- 
comings by their death. Ihou art the destroyer ot 
thy home, hurtful ever, whether through love or 
hatred of thy wives.^ 

[^Turning to the mangled corjise.^ 

1168 o Hippolytus, is it such 1 see thy face.'' 
such have I made it .'' What savage Sinis, what 
Procrustes, has scattered thy members so, or what 
Cretan bull, fierce, two-formed monster, filling the 
labyrinth of Daedalus with his huge bellowings, has 
torn thee asunder with his horns '' Ah, woe is me ! 
whither is thy glorious beauty fled, and thine eyes, 
my stars .'' Dost lie low in death .'' Come back for 

1 See Index i.v. "Theseus." 

* Theseus had slain Antiope in a fit of anger, and now has 
destroyed Hippolytus through jealous love for Phaedra. 


ades parumper verbaque exaudi mea — 
nil turpe loquimur — hac manu poenas tibi 
solvam et iiefando pectori ferrum inseram 
animaque Phaedram pariter ac scelere exuam, 
et te per undas perque Tartareos lacus, 
per Styga, per amnes igneos amens sequar. 1180 

placemus umbras ; capitis exuvias cape 
laceraeque frontis accipe abscissam ^ comam. 
non licuit animos iungere, et certe licet 
iunxisse fata. 

Morere, si casta es, viro ; 
si incesta, amori. coniugis thalamos petam 
tanto impiatos facinore ? hoc derat nefas, 
ut vindicate sancta fruereris toro. 
o mors amoris una sedamen mali, 
o mors pudoris maximum laesi decus, 
confugimus ad te ; pande placates sinus, 1 190 

Audite, Athenae, tuque, funesta pater 
peior noverca : falsa memoravl et nefas, 
quod ipsa demens pectore insano hauseram, 
mentita finxi. vana punisti pater, 
iuvenisque castus crimine incesto iacet, 
pudicus, insons. 

Recipe iam mores tuos. 
mucrone pectus impium iusto patet 
cruorque sancto solvit inferias viro. 

Quid facere rapto debeas nato parens, 
disce a noverca : condere Acherontis plagis.^ 1 200 

* So S" : Leo abscisam. 

* Leo gives II. 1199, 1200 to Theseus; hut they teem more 
naturally to belong to Phaedra. So A. 



a little and hearken to my words — no shameful 
thing I speak — with this hand will 1 make amends to 
thee, in my wicked heart will I thrust the sword and 
set Phaedra free equally from life and crime. Then 
through waters, through Tartarean pools, through 
Styx, through rivers of fire will I madlv follow thee. 
Let me appease thy shade ; take the spoils of my 
head, and accept this lock torn from my wounded 
forehead. It was not ours to be joined in life, but 
surely 'tis ours to be joined in death. 
[To herself.^ 

1^^ Now die, if thou art pure, for thy husband's 
sake ; if impure, for thy love. Shall I seek again my 
husband's couch by so great crime defiled ? The one 
horror lacking was that, as if pure, thou shouldst 
enjoy his couch claimed as thy right. O death, 
thou only solace of evil love, O death, thou chiefest 
grace to damaged honour, I fly to thee ; spread wide 
thy forgiving arms. 

^^®^ Hear me, O Athens, and thou, his father, worse 
than baleful stepdame : I have lied to you, and the 
crime which, crazed with passion, I had conceived 
in my own mad breast, I falsely charged to him 
Thou, father, hast punished to no purpose ; and the 
chaste youth, through charge of the unchaste, lies 
there, all pure and innocent. 


^^'* Recover now thine honour. My impious breast 
is bare to the sword of justice, and my blood makes 
atonement to a guiltless man. 


1199 What thou, his father, shouldst do, now that 
thy son is murdered, learn from his stepdame : hide 
thee in Acheron. 

[She falls upon her sword and dies.'\ 




Pallidi fauces Averni vosque, Taenarei specus, 
unda miseris grata Lethes vosque, torpentes lacus, 
impium abdite atque mersum premite perpetuis 

nunc adeste, saeva ponti monstra, nunc vastum mare, 
ultimo quodcumque Proteus aequorum abscoiidit 

raeque ovantem scelere tanto rapite in altos gurgites. 
tuque semper, genitor, irae facilis assensor meae, 
morte facili dignus baud sum qui nova natum nece 
segregem sparsi per agros quique, dum falsum 

exsequor vindex severus, incidi in verum scelus. 1210 
sidera et manes et undas scelere complevi meo ; 
amplius sors nulla restat ; regna me norunt tria. 

In hoc redimus ? patuit ad caelum via, 
bina ut viderem funera et geminam necem, 
caelebs et orbus funebres una face 
ut concremarem prolis ac thalami rogos ? 
donator atrae lucis, Alcide, tuum 
Diti remitte munus ; ereptos mihi 
restitue manes, impius frustra invoco 
mortem relictam. crudus et leti artifex, 1220 

exitia machinatus insolita efFera, 
nunc ipse tibimet iusta supplicia irroga. 
pinus coacto vertice attingens humum 
caelo remissum findat in geminas trabes, 


Ye jaws of wan Avernusj ye Taenarean caves, 
ye waves of Lethe, welcome to the wretched, ye 
sluggish pools, hide ye my impious self, plunge deep 
and bury me in unending woes. Come now, savage 
monsters of the deep, now, vast sea, and whatever 
Proteus has hidden away in the furthest hollow of 
his waters, and hurry me off, me who felt triumph 
in crime so great, to your deep pools. And thou, 
father, who didst e'er give too quick assent to my 
angry prayer, I am not worthy of an easy death who 
have brought unheard-of destruction on my son and 
scattered his mangled limbs throughout the fields ; 
who, while, as stern avenger, I was punishing an unreal 
crime, have myself fallen into true guilt. Heaven, 
hell, and ocean have I filled up by my sin ; there 
remains no further lot; ^ three kingdoms know me. 

1213 Pqp this h.ave I returned .'' Was the way opened 
to the light of heaven that I might look on two 
funerals and a double murder, that, wifeless and 
childless, I might with one torch light the funeral 
pyres of son and wife ? O giver of light that is 
but darkness, Alcides, give back his boon ^ to Dis ; 
give me up again to the ghosts whom I escaped. 
Impiously, I make vain prayers for the death I left 
behind. Thou bloody man, skilful in deadly arts, 
who didst contrive unheard-of, barbarous ways of 
death, now upon thvself inflict fitting punishment. 
Shall a pine-tree, its tof) bent down to earth, split 
me in two, shot back into the air ? ^ Shall I be 

^ A reference to the three lots by which the sons of Saturn 
divided the universe among themselves. 

* Hercules had asked the boon of Dis that he might take 
Theseus with him out of Hades. 

* See Index $.v. " Sinis." 

I 2d 417 

mittarve praeceps saxa per Scironia ? 
graviora vidi, quae pati clauses iubet 
Phlegethon nocentes igneo cingens vado ; 
quae poena memet maneat et sedes^ scio. 
Umbrae nocentes, cedite et cervicibus 
hiSj his repositum degravet fessas manus 1230 

saxum, seni perennis Aeolio labor ; 
me ludat amnis ora viciiia alluens ; 
vultur relicto transvolet Tityo ferus 
meumque poenae semper accrescat iecur ; 
et tu mei requiesce Perithoi pater : 
haec incitatis membra turbinibus ferat 
numquam resistens orbe revoluto rota, 
dehisce tellus, recipe me dirum chaos, 
recipe, haec ad umbras iustior nobis via est — 
natum sequor. ne metue qui manes regis ; 124'0 

casti venimus ; recipe me aeterna domo 
non exiturum. non movent divos preces ; 
at si rogarem scelera, quam proni forent ! 


Theseu, querelis tempus aeternum manet. 
nunc iusta nato solve et absconde ocius 
dispersa foede membra laniatu effero. 


Hue, hue reliquias vehite cari corporis 
pondusque et artus temere congestos date. 
Hippolytus hie est ? crimen agnosco meum ; 


hurled headlong over the Scironian cliffs ? More 
dreadful things have I seen which Phlegethon bids 
imprisoned sinners suffer, compassing them about 
■with his stream of fire ; what punishment waits for 
me, and what place, I know. 

1229 Ye guilty shades, make room, and on these 
shoulders, these, let the rock rest, the endless task 
of the aged son ^ of Aeolus, and weigh down my 
weary hands ; let water, lapping my very lips, mock 
my thirst;^ let the fell vulture leave Tityus and 
fly hither, let my liver constantly grow afresh 
for punishment; and do thou rest awhile, father ^ 
of my Pirithoiis — let the wheel that never stops its 
wiiirling bear these limbs of mine on its swift-turn- 
ing rim. Yawn, earth ; take me, dire Chaos, take 
me ; this way to the shades is more fitting * for 
me — my son I follow. And fear not, thou who 
rulest the shades ; I come clean-handed ; ^ receive 
me into thy everlasting home, to go forth no more. 
My prayers move not the gods ; but if I asked 
impious things, how would they bend to answer ! 

Theseus, time without end awaits thy lamenta- 
tions. Now pay the rites due to thy son and bury 
with speed the scattered limbs mangled so shame- 


Hither, hither bring the remains of his dear body 
and heap together, as they come, the burden of his 
limbs. Is this Hippolytus? Mine is the sin, I do 

^ Sisyphus. * Referring to the torture of Tantalus. 

' Ixion. * t.e.than his former journey to the lower world. 
* t,e. with no evil designs on Proserpina, as before. 


ego te peremi, neu noceus tantum semel 1250 

solusve fierem, facinus ausurus parens 
patrem advocavi. munere en patrio fruor. 
o triste fractis orbitas annis malum ! 
complectere artus, quodque de nato est super, 
miserande, maesto pectore incumbens fove. 


Disiecta, genitor, membra laceri corporis 
in ordinem dispone et errantes loco 
restitue partes, fortis hie dextrae locus, 
hie laeva frenis docta moderandis man us 
ponenda ; laevi lateris agnosco notas. 1260 

quam magna lacrimis pars adhuc nostris abest ! 


Durate trepidae lugubri officio manus, 
fletusque largos sistite, arentes genae, 
dum membra nato genitor adnumerat suo 
corpusque fingit. hoc quid est forma carens 
et turpe, multo vulnere abruptum undique ? 
quae pars tui sit dubito ; sed pars est tui. 
hie, hie repone, non suo, at vacuo loco, 
haecne ilia facies igne sidereo nitens, 
inimica flectens lumina ? hue cecidit decor? 1270 
o dira fata, numinum o saevus favor ' 
sic ad parentem natus ex voto redit .'' 

En haec suprema dona genitoris cape, 
saepe efferendus ; interim haec ignes ferant. 


acknowledge it ; 'tis I who have murdered thee, and, 
lest once only or alone I might be guilty, when I his 
father would dare crime, my own sire I summoned 
to my aid. Behold, I enjoy my father's boon. O 
childlessness, bitter misfortune for broken years I 
Come, clasp his limbs and all that is left thee of 
thy son, thou wretched man, and, in thy sad breast 
fondling, cherish them. 


The scattered parts of his torn body set thou, his 
sire, in order, and put back in place the random 
pieces. Here should be his strong right hand, here 
we must put his left, skilled in managing the reins ; 
traces of his left side I recognize. But how large a 
part is still lacking to our tears ! 

Be firm, my trembling hands, for your sad duty ; 
be dry, my cheeks, stay your flowing tears, while 
a father is portioning out members to his son and 
fashioning his body. What is this shapeless, ugly 
piece, with many a wound torn on every side ? 
What part it is of thee, I know not; but it is a part 
of thee. Here, here lay it down, not in its own but 
in an empty place. Is this that face which once 
gleamed with fire as of the stars, which turned his 
enemy's eyes aside ? Has his beauty fallen to this } 
O dire fate, O cruel favour of the gods ! Thus comes 
back son to father in answer to his prayer .'' 

[Placing some ornaments on the lorn bodi/.'\ 

"'3 Lo, these are thy sire's last gifts. Take them, 
O thou who must oft be borne to burial. Now let 
the fires consume these limbs. 


Patefacite acerbam caede funesta domum ; 
Mopsopia Claris tota lamentis sonet. 
vos apparate regii flammam rogi ; 
at vos per agros corporis partes vagas 

Istam terra defossam premat, 
gravisque tellus impio capiti incubet ! 1280 



[To attendmits.^ 
^^'^ Open wide my palace, gloomy and foul with 
slaughter, and let all Athens with loud laments re- 
sound. Do you make ready the flames of the royal 
pvre ; do you seek through the fields for his body's 
parts still wandering. 

\Pointing to phaedra's corpse.^ 

^-^^ As for her, let her be buried deep in earth, 
and heavy may the soil lie on her unholy head ! 




Oedipus, king of Thebes ; the son, as he supposed, of Polybus, 
king of Corinth, and Mcrope, his wife, but found to he the 
son of Laius and Jocasta. 

JOCASTA, wife of Oedipus, found to he also his mother. 

Cbeon, a Theban prince, brother of Jocasta. 

TiRESIAS, the prophet of Thebes, now old and blind. 

Manto, daughter of Tiresias. 

Old Man, sent from Corinth to announce to Oedipus the death 
of Polybus. 

FhobbaS, shepherd in charge of the royal flocks of Thebes. 

Messenger, who announces the self-inflicted blindness of 
Oedipus and the suicide of Jocasta. 

Chorus of Theban elders. 

The Scene is laid before the royal palace of Thebes ; the 
play opens in the early morning of the day within which the 
tragedy is consummated. 


An oracle once came to La'itu, king of Thebes, that he 
should perish by his own son's hands. When, therefore, 
a son was bom to him, he gave the infont to his chief 
shepherd to expose on Mount Cithaeron. But the 
tender-hearted rustic gave the babe instead to a wandering 
herdsman of Polybus, the king of Corinth. 

Years later a reputed son of Polybus, Oedipus by 
name, fearing an oracle which doomed him to slay his 
father and wed his mother, fled from Corinth, that so he 
might escape this dreadful fate. As he fared northward 
he met and slew an old man who imperiously disputed the 
narrow way with him. Upon arriving at the Theban 
land he read the riddle of the Sphinx, and so destroyed 
that monster which Juno had sent to harass the land 
which she hated ; and for this service Oedipus was made 
the husband of Jocasta, the widowed queen of Laius 
{recently slain, so said report, by a band of robbers, OM 
the high road), and set upon the vacant throne. 

Now other years have passed, and sons and daughters 
have been bom to the royal pair. But now a dreadful 
pestilaice afflicts the State. Oedipus has sent Creon to 
consult the oracle, to learn the cause and seek the means 
of deliverance from the scourge. And while he waits his 
messenser's return the murlnj darni still finds him grieving 
for his kingdoms wretched plight. 


Iam nocte Titan dubius expulsa red it 
et nube maestus^ squalida exoritur iubar, 
lumenque flamma triste luctifica gerens 
prospiciet avida peste solatas domos, 
stragemque quam nox fecit ostendet dies. 

Quisquamne regno gaudet ? O fallax bonum, 
quantum malorum fronte quam blanda tegis ! 
ut alta ventos semper excipiunt iuga 
rupemque saxis vasta dirimentem freta 
quamvis quieti verberat fluctus maris, 10 

imperia sic excelsa Fortunae obiacent. 
quam bene parentis sceptra Polybi fugeram 
curis solutus exul, intrepidus, vagans ^ 
(caelum deosque tester) in regnum incidi. 
infanda timeo — ne mea genitor manu 
perimatur. hoc me Delphicae laurus monent, 
aliudque nobis maius indicunt scelus. 
est maius aliquod patre mactato nefas ? 
pro misera pietas (eloqui fatum pudet), 
thalamos parentis Phoebus et diros toros 20 

nato minatur impia incestos face ; 
hie me paternis expulit regnis timor. 

^ So Leo and Richter : Bentley maestum squalida extollit 

* So Richter, vrith A : Leo vacans, vnth E. 



Now night is driven away ; tlie hesitant sun returns, 
and rises, sadly veiling his beams in murky cloud ; 
with woeful flame he brings a light of groom and 
will look forth upon our homes stricken with raven- 
ing plague, and day will reveal the havoc which night 
has wrought. 

^ Does any man rejoice in royalty ? O deceitful 
good, how many ills dost hide beneath thy smiling 
face ! As lofty peaks do ever catch the blasts, and as 
the cliff, which with its jutting rocks cleaves the vast 
deep, is beaten by the waves of even a quiet sea, so 
does exalted empire lie exposed to fate. How happily 
had I escaped the sceptre of my father, Polybus! 
An exile freed from cares,^ fearless, wandering, upon 
a kingdom (be heaven and the gods my witness) I 
came by chance. Things unspeakable I fear — that 
by my hand my father shall be slain. Of this the 
Delphic laurels warn me, and another, still greater 
crime they assign to me. Is any wickedness greater 
than a murdered sire ? O hapless filial love ! — I 
am ashamed to tell my doom — Phoebus threatens 
the son with his father's chamber, with bed made 
infamous, defiled by unhallowed passion. 'Twas the 
fear of this that drove me from my father's realm. 

f i.e. regarding the oracle, whose fulfilment he thought he 
had escaped. 


non ego penates profugus excess! meos ; 
parum ipse fidens mihimet in tuto tua, 
Natura, posui iura. cum magna horreas, 
quod posse fieri non putes metuas tamen. 
cuncta expavesco meque non credo mihi. 

lam iam aliquid in nos fata moliri parant ; 
nam quid rear quod ista Cadmeae lues 
in'esta genti, strage tarn late edita, 30 

mihi parcit uni ? cui reservamur malo ? 
inter ruinas urbis et semper novis 
deflenda lacrimis fun era ac populi strueiu 
iucolumis asto — scilicet Phoebi reus, 
sperare poteras sceleribus tantis dari 
regnum salubre ? fecimus caelum nocens. 

Non aura gelido lenis afflatu fovet 
anliela flammis corda^ non Zephyri leves 
spirant, sed ignes auget aestiferi canis 
Titan, leonis terga Nemeaei premens. 40 

deseruit amnes umor atque herbas color, 
aretque Dirce, tenuis Ismenos fluit 
et tinguit inopi nuda vix unda vada. 
obscura caelo labitur Phoebi soror, 
tristisque mundus nubilo pallet die. 
nullum serenis noctibus sidus micat, 
sed gravis et ater incubat terris vapor, 
obtexit arces caelitum ac summas domos 
inferna facies. denegat fructum Ceres 


Not as a fugitive^ did I leave my home ; of my own 
will, distrustful of myself, O Nature, I made thy laws 
secure. When thou dreadest some great calamity, 
though thou thinkst it cannot befall, still do thou 
fear. I dread all things exceedingly, and I do not 
trust myself unto myself 

2^ Now, even now the fates are aiming some blow 
at me ; for what am I to think when this pestilence, 
so deadly to Cadmus' race, so widespread in its 
destruction, spares me alone ? For what evil am I 
reserved.'' Midst the ruins of my city, midst fune- 
rals to be lamented with tears ever fresh, midst 
the slaughter of a nation, I stand unscathed — aye I 
prisoner at Phoebus' bar, Couldst thou hope that to 
crimes like thine a wholesome kingdom would be 
granted .'' I have made heaven pestilent.^ 

3' No soft breeze with its cool breath relieves our 
breasts that pant with heat, no gentle Zephyrs blow; 
but Titan augments the scorching dog-star's fires, 
close-pressing upon the Nemean Lion's ^ back. Water 
has fled the streams, and from the herbage verdure. 
Dirce is dry, scant flows Ismenus' stream, and with 
its meagre wave scarce wets the naked sands. With 
paling light glides Phoebus' sister athwart the sky, 
and the gloomy heavens are wan in the lowering day. 
No star in clear nights glitters, but a heavy, black fog 
broods o'er the lands. The citadels of the heavenly 
gods and their homes on high are veiled in hellish 
aspect. The ripened com withholds its fruitful 

• i.e. to avoid the consequences of some crime already 

• i.e. '■ I have caused the gods on my account to work this destruction"; or, as Farnabius interprets: "I have 
infected the very air." This latter interpretation is favoured 
by 1. 79. 

• The sun is in the constellation of Leo in July. 


adulta, et altis flava cum spicis tremat, 50 

arente culmo sterilis emoritur seges. 
nee ulla pars immunis exitio vacat, 
sed omnis aetas pariter et sexus ruit, 
iuvenesque senibus iungit et natis patres 
funesta pestis, una fax thalamos creniat 
fletuque acerbo funera et questu carent. 
quin ipsa tanti pervicax clades mali 
siccavit oculos, quodque in extremis solet 
periere lacrimae. portat hunc aeger parens 
supremum ad ignem, mater hunc amens gerit 6o 
properatque ut alium repetat in eundem rogum. 
quin luctu in ipso luctus exoritur novus 
suaeque circa funus exequiae cadunt. 
turn propria flammis corpora alienis cremant ; 
diripitur ignis ; nullus est miseris pudor. 
non ossa tumuli sancta discreti tegunt. 
arsisse satis est ; pars quota in cinei-es abit ! 
dest terra tumulis, iam rogos silvae negant. 
non vota^ non ars ulla correptos levant, 
cadunt medentes, morbus auxilium trahit. 70 

Adfusus aris supplices tendo manus 
matura poscens fata, praecurram ut prior 
patriam ruentem neve post omnes cadam 
fiamque regni funus extremum mei. 
o saeva nimium numina, o fatum grave ! 
negatur uni nempe in hoc populo mi hi 
mors tam parata ? sperne letali manu 
contacta regna, linque lacrimas, funera, 


harvest, and though the golden crop waves high 
its wheaten ears, the grain dies shrivelled on its 
parched stalk. No class is free from death ; but 
every age and sex is smitten alike. Young men 
with old, fathers with sons, are joined by the deadly 
plague ; husband and wife by a single fire are bux'ned, 
and funerals lack bitter tears and lamentations. Nay, 
the persistent bane of our so great a woe hath of 
itself dried our eyes and, as oft in utmost misery, 
our tears have perished. Here to the final flames a 
stricken father bears his son ; there a crazed mother 
carries her child and hastens back to bring another 
to the selfsame pyre. Nay more, in their very grief 
new grief arises and midst funeral rites their own 
rites befall. Anon, with others' fires they burn the 
bodies of their own ; yes, fire is stolen, for the 
wretched have no shame. No separate mounds cover 
the hallowed bones. Mere burning is enough ; how 
email a part is turned to ashes ! No ground is left 
for tombs ; now woods refuse more pyres. Neither 
prayers nor any skill avails the stricken. Healers fall 
victims ; the disease drags down those who seek to aid. 
"^ Prostrate at the altars, I stretch suppliant hands, 
begging my fates to hasten, that I may anticij:ate 
my country's ruin and not fall after all the rest, and 
mine become the last funeral of my realm. Oh, divi- 
nities too harsh. Oh, heavy fate ! To me alone in all 
this people is death denied, so ready for all others ? 
Come, fly the land thy baleful hand has tainted, 
leave the tears, the deaths, the pest-laden air which 
I 2 E 433 

tabifica caeli vitia quae tecum invehis 
infaustus hospes, profuge iamdudum ocius — 80 

vel ad parentes ! 


Quid iuvat, coniunx, mala 
gravare questu ? regium hoc ipsum reor — 
adversa capere, quoque sit dubius magis 
status et cadentis imperi moles labet, 
hoc stare car to pressius for tern gradu. 
haud est virile terga Fortunae dare. 


Abest pavoris crimen ae probrum procul, 
virtusque nostra nescit ignavos metus. 
si tela contra stricta, si vis horrida 
Mavortis in me rueret, adversus feros 90 

audax Gigantas obvias ferrem manus. 
nee Sphinga caecis verba nectentem modis 
fugi ; cruentos vatis infandae tuli 
rictus et albens ossibus sparsis solum ; 
cumque e superna rupe iam praedae imminens 
aptaret alas verbera et caudae movens 
saevi leonis more conciperet minas, 
carmen poposci. sonuit horrendum insuper, 
crepuere malae, saxaque impatiens morae 
revulsit unguis viscera expectans mea; 100 

nodosa sortis verba et implexos dolos 
ac triste carmen alitis solvi ferae. 


thou bringst with thee, ill-omened guest ; fly quicklyl 
(long since 'twere well) — even to thy parents ! ^ 


^fVho has entered in time to hear her husband's last 
words. ^ 

What boots it, husband, to make woe heavier 
by lamentation ? This very thing, methinks, is 
regal — to face adversity and, the more dubious thy 
station and the more the greatness of empire totters 
to its fall, the more firm to stand, brave with un- 
faltering foot. 'Tis not a manly thing to turn the 
back to Fortune. 

Far from me is the crime and shame of cowardice, 
and my valour knows not dastard fears. Should 
swords be drawn against me, should the bristling 
power of Mars rush on me, against even the fierce 
Giants would I boldly bear opposing hands. The 
Sphinx, weaving her words in darkling measures, I 
fled not ; I faced the bloody jaws of the fell prophetess 
and the ground white with scattered bones. And 
when from a lofty cliff, already hovering over her 
prey, she prepared her pinions and, lashing her tail 
like a savage lion, stirred up her threatening wrath, 
I asked her riddle. Thereupon came a sound of 
dread ; her jaws crashed, and her talons, brooking no 
delay, eager for my vitals, tore at the rocks. The 
lot's intricate, guile-entangled words, the grim riddle 
of the winged beast, I solved. 

^ t.e. Polybus, king of Corinth, and Merope, his wife, who, 
he supposed, were his parents and from whom he had fled to 



Quid sera mortis vota nunc demens facis ? 
licuit peiire. laudis hoc pretium tibi 
sceptrum et peremptae Sphingis haec merces datur.^ 
ille, ille dirus callidi monstri cinis 
in nos rebellat, ilia nunc Thebas lues 
perempta perdit. una iam superest salus, 
si quam salutis Phoebus ostendit viam. 

Occidis, Cadmi generosa proles, 1 1 

urbe cum tota ; viduas colonis 
respicis terras, miseranda Thebe. 
carpitur leto tuus ille, Bacche, 
miles, extremos comes usque ad Indos, 
ausus Eois equitare campis 
figere et mundo tua signa primo. 
einnami silvis Arabas beatos 
vidit et versos equites, sagittis 
terga fallacis metuenda Parthi ; 
litus intravit pelagi rubentis ; 120 

promit hinc ortus aperitque lucem 
Phoebus et flamma propiore nudos 
inficit Indos. 

Stirpis invictae genus interimus, 
labimur saevo rapiente fato ; 
ducitur semj)er nova pompa Morti; 
longus ad manes properatur ordo 
agminis maesti, seriesque tristis 
haeret et turbae tumulos petenti 
non satis septem patuere portae. 130 

Stat gravis strages premiturque iuncto 
funere funus. 

' Richter assigns U. 103-1)5 to Jocasta, 


'*' [To himself.] Why too late dost thou now in 
madness pray for death ? Thou hadst thy chance 
to die. This sceptre is thy meed of praise, this thy 
reward for the Sphinx destroyed. That dust, that 
cursed dust of the artful monster is warring against 
me still ; that pest which I destroyed is now destroy- 
ing Thebes. One only salvation is left us now, if 
any way of salvation Phoebus shows. 


Thou art falling, O noble race of Cadmus, with 
all thy city. Reft of its tillers thou seest thy land, 
O pitiable Thebes. Destruction feeds, O Bacchus, on 
that soldiery of thine, thy comrades to farthest Ind, 
who dared to ride on the Eastern plains and plant thy 
banners on the world's first edge. The Arabs, blest 
with their cinnamon groves, they saw, and fleeing 
horsemen, the backs of the treacherous Parthians,^ 
to be feared for their flying shafts ; they j)ierced to 
the shores of the ruddy sea,- whence Phoebus dis- 
closes his rising beams, opei.s the gates of day, and 
with nearer torch darkens the naked Indians. 

124 \y^^ t}^g offspring of an unconquered stock, are 
perishing, are falling 'neath the fierce onslaught of 
fate. Each hour a new train moves on to Death ; the 
long array of a mournful band hastes to the shades ; 
the gloomy procession jams, and for the throng that 
seeks burial the seven gates spread not wide enough. 
The grievous wrack of carnage halts and funeral 
crowds funeral in unbroken line. 

' A reference to the proverbial " Parthian shot," delivered 
while in flight or seeming flight. 

* Referring not to our '-Red Sea," but to the Indian 
Ocean. See Here. Fur., 903 ; Thy., 371. 



Prima vis tardas tetigit bidentes ; 
laniger pingues male carpsit herbas. 
col la tacturus steterat sacerdos ; 
dum manus certum parat alta vulnus, 
aureo taurus rutilante cornu 
labitur segnis. patuit sub ictu 
ponderis vasti resoluta cervix ; 
nee cruor, ferrum maculavit atra I'l'O 

turpis e plaga sanies profusa. 
segnior cursu sonipes in ipso 
concidit gyro dominumque prono 
prodidit armo. 

Incubant agris pecudes relictae ; 
taurus armento pereunte marcet ; 
deficit pastor grege deminuto 
tabidos inter moriens iuvencos. 
non lupos cervi metuunt rapaces, 
cessat irati fremitus leonis, 150 

nulla villosis feritas in ursis ; 
perdidit pestem latebrosa serr)ens ; 
aret et sicco moritur veneno. 

Non silva sua decorata coma 
fundit opacis montibus umbras, 
non rura virent ubere glebae, 
non plena suo vitis Baccho 
bracchia curvat ; 
omnia nostrum sensere malum. 

Rupere Erebi claustra profundi l60 

turba sororum face Tartarea 
Phlegethonque suam mutat ripam ; 
miscuit undis Styga Sidoniis. 



183 pirst the plague struck the slow-moving sheep ; 
to their bane did the woolly flock crop the rich 
herbage. Ready to smite his victim's neck, the 
priest had taken his stand ; while his upraised hand 
aimed the unerring blow, the bull, his horn glim- 
mering with gold, sank dully down. Shattered by 
the blow of a heavy axe, the neck yawned open ; ^ 
but no blood, only foul gore, oozing from the dark 
wound, stained the steel. The prancing steed, slow- 
ing in mid-course, fell down and flung his rider over 
his sinking shoulder. 

^*^ The abandoned cattle lie stricken in the fields ; 
the bull pines away amidst his dying kine. The 
herdsman deserts his dwindling herd, midst his 
wasting bullocks dying. No more do stags fear 
ravenous wolves ; subsides the mad lion's roar ; no 
fierceness now among the shaggy bears. The lurking 
serpent has lost its bane ; parched and dying he lies, 
his venom dried. 

154 j»Jo more do the woods, crowned with their own 
foliage, shed dusky shadows on the mountain-sides ; 
the fields no more grow green with fertile glebe, 
no more do the vine's full branches bend 'neath 
the load of its own deity ; all things have felt our 

^8° They have burst the bars of abysmal Erebus, 
the throng of sisters with Tartarean torch, ^ and 
Phlegethon,^ changing his own course, has mingled 
Styx with our Sidonian ^ streams. Dark Death opens 

^ The experience with two victims is described. The first 
bull fell before he was struck ; the second was struck with 
the axe, but no blood flowed. 

* In reference to the hot fever of the plague-smit victims. 
Phlegethon was the burning stream of Hades. 

' t.e. Phoenician. Cadmus, son of Agenor, king of Phoenicia 
had founded Thebes. 



Mors atra avidos oris hiatus 

pandit et omnes explicat alas ; 

quique capaci turbida cumba 

fiumina servat durus senio 

navita crudo, vix assiduo 

bracchia conto lassata refert, 

fessus tiirbam vectare novam. 170 

quin Taenarii vincula feni 

rupisse canem fama et nostris 

errare locis, mugisse solum, 

vaga per lucos simulacra ferunt 

maiora viris, bis Cadmeum 

nive discussa tremuisse nemus, 

bis turbatam sanguine Dircen, 

nocte silenti 

Amphionios ululasse canes. 

C) dira novi facies leti, 180 

gravior leto ! piger ignavos 
alligat artus languor, et aegro 
rubor in vultu, maculaeque caj)ut 
sparsere leves ; turn vapor ipsam 
corporis arcem flammeus urit 
multoque genas sanguine tendit, 
oculique rigent et sacer ignis 
pascitur artus ; resonant aures 
stillatque niger naris aduncae 
cruor et venas rum pit hiantes ; 190 

intima creber viscera quassat 
gemitus stridens. iamque amplt xu 
frigida presso saxa fatigant ; 
quos liberior domus elato 
custode sinit, petitis fontes 
aliturque sitis latice ingesto. 
prostrata iacet turba per aras 
oratque mori — solum hoc faciles 


wide his greedy, gaping jaws and unfolds all his 
wings, and the boatman ^ who plies the troubled 
stream with roomy skiff, though hardy in his \ igorous 
old age, can scarce draw back his arms wearied with 
constant poling, worn out with ferrying the fresh 
throng o'er. Nay more, they say that the dog ^ 
has burst his chains of Taenarian ^ iron, and is 
wandering through our fields ; that the earth has 
rumbled ; that ghosts go stealing through the groves, 
larger than mortal lorms ; that twice have Cadmean 
forests trembled and shed their snows ; twice has 
Dirce welled up with blood ; in the silent night 
Amphion's hounds have bayed. 

^^'^ O dire appeanmce and new form of death, far 
heavier than death ! Benumbing languor fetters the 
listless limbs ; the sickly cheeks burn red ; small 
spots overspread the face. Then hot vapours scorch 
the body's very citadel * and distend the cheeks with 
blood; the eyes stand staring, and accursed fire^ 
feeds upon the limbs. There is a ringing in the ears ; 
black blood drips from the strained nostrils and bursts 
the swelling veins. Full oft does a grating cough 
rack the inmost frame. Now they strain cold stones 
close to their breasts ; or where new freedom in the 
house permits, since the watcher has been borne 
forth, ye ^ hasten to tiie springs, and with full 
draughts feed your fevered thirst. Prostrate the 
crowds lie at the altars and pray for death — this alone 

* Charon. * Cerberus. 
' See Index s.v. "Taenarus." 

* i.e. the head. 

* Sacer ignis is usually supposed to be erj'sipelas, "St. 
Anthony's tire." 

* He addresses the sick folk who, when the watcher is dead 
rush to the water, which only inflames their thirst. 


tribuere dei ; delubra petunt, 
haut ut voto numina placent, 200 

sed iuvat ipsos satiare deos. 


Quisnam ille propero regiam gressu petit ? 
adestne clarus sanguine ac factis Creo 
an aeger animus falsa pro veris videt ? 

Adest petitus omnibus votis Creo. 


Horrore quatior, fata quo vergant timens, 
trepidumque gemino pectus affectu labat ; 
ubi laeta duris mixta in ambiguo iacent, 
incertus animus scire cum cupiat timet. 

Germane nostrae coniugis, fessis opem 
si quam reportas, voce properata edoce. 


Responsa dubia sorte perplexa iacent, 


Dubiara salutem qui dat adflictis negat. 


the compliant gods bestow. They seek the shrines, 
not that they may appease the divinities with gifts, 
but joying to glut the very gods. 

[cREON is seen returning from his mission.^ ] 


Who, pray, is he who seeks the palace with hasty 
steps .'' Is Creon at hand, noble in blood and deed, 
or does my sick fancy see false for true .'' 


He is at hand, Creon, by all our prayers desired. 
[Enter creon.] 

With dread am I shaken, fearing the trend of fate,' 
and my fluttering heart wavers betwixt two moods ; 
where joy with grief commingled lies in doubt, the 
uncertain soul fears though it longs to know. 

2^° O brother of my consort, if to weary hearts 
thou bringest any aid, quickly declare thy news. 


Doubtful lies the answer and involved the doom. 


Who grants a doubtful help to sufferers, grants 

^ See Argument. 

* i.e. of the oracle which Creon had been sent to consult. 




Ambage flexa Delphico inos est deo 
arcana tegere. 


Fare, sit diibium licet, 
ambigua soli noscere Oedipodae datur. 


Caedem expiari regiam exilio dens, 
et interemptum Laium ulcisci in bet. 
non ante caelo lucidus curret dies 
haustusque tutos aetheris puri dabit. 220 


Et quis peremptor incluti regis fuit ? 
quem memoret ede Phoebus, ut poenas luat. 


Sit, precor, dixisse tutum visu et auditu horrida ; 
torpor insedit per artus, frigidus sanguis coit. 
ut sacrata templa Phoebi supplici intravi pede 
et pias numen precatus rite summisi manus, 
gemina Pamasi nivalis arx trucem fremitum dedit ; 
imminens Phoebea laurus tremuit et movit comam 
ac repente sancta fontis lympha Castalii stetit. 
incipit Letoa vates spargere horrentes comas 230 



In mazy riddles is the Delphic god wont to hide 
his secrets. 


Speak out, though it be doubtful ; to read riddles 
to Oedipus alone is given. 


The god bids the king's murder be atoned by 
banishment and the murdered Laius be avenged. 
Not sooner shall the bright sun course the heavens, 
and give wholesome draughts of unpolluted air. 


And who was the murderer of the illustrious king ? 
Tell whom Phoebus names, that he may pay the 


May it be safe, I pray, to have told of things to 
sight and hearing dreadful. Numbi.ess has settled 
through my limbs ; my chill blood freezes. When 
Phoebus' hallowed shrine I entered with reverent 
feet and raised pious hands in due supplication to the 
nod, the double jieaks of snow-clad Parnassus gave 
an angry roar ; the overhanging laurel of Phoebus 
trembled and shook its foliage, and suddenly the 
holy waters of the Castalian spring stood still. The 
priestess of Leto's son began to fling loose her 


et pati commota Phoebum. contigit nondum specum 
emicat vasto fragore maior humano sonus : 

Mitia Cadmeis remeabunt sidera Thebis, 
si profugus Dircen Ismenida liquerit hospes 
regis caede nocens, Phoebo iam notus et infans. 
nee tibi longa manent sceleratae gaudia caedis : 
tecum bella geres natis quoque bella relinquens, 
turpis maternos iterum revolutus in ortus. 


Quod facere monitu caelitum iussus paro, 
functi cineribus regis hoc decuit dari, 240 

ne sancta quisquam sceptra violaret dolo. 
regi tuenda maxime regum est salus ; 
curat peremptum nemo quern incolumem timet. 


Curam perempti maior excussit timer. 


Pium prohibuit ullus officium metus? 

Sphinx et nefandi carminis tristes n^anae. 


bristling locks and, deep stirred, to suffer Phoebus. 
She had not yet reached the cave, when, with a mighty 
roar, words louder than voice of man leaped forth : * 

" Kind shall the stars return to the Theban city of 

If, O fugitive guest, Ismenian Dirce thou leavest, 
Stained with the blood of a king, from infancy 

known to Apollo. 
Brief shall be to thee the joys of thy impious 

slaughter : 
With thee war shalt thou biing, and war to thy 

sons leave behind thee, 
Foully returned once more to the impious womb 

of thy mother." 


That which, at Heaven's warning, I am now pre- 
pared to do should fittingly have been done in honour 
of the dead king's dust, that none might treacherously 
profane the sacred sceptre. Kings have most need 
to guard the life of kings ; none hath care for him 
when dead whom alive he fears. 


Our care for the dead a greater fear dispelled. 


Did any fear prevent a pious duty ? 


Aye, the Sphinx and the dire threats of her accursed 

^ The oracles were conunoQly given out in dactylic hexa- 




Nunc expietur numinum imperio scelus. 
Quisquis deorum regna placatus vides ; 
tu, tu penes quem iura praecipitis poll 
tuque, o sereni maximum raundi decus, 250 

bis sena cursu signa qui vario regis, 
qui tarda celeri saecula evolvis rota, 
sororque fratri semper occurrens tuo, 
noctivaga Phoebe, quique ventoium potens 
aequor per altum caerulos currus agis, 
et qui carentes luce disponis domos, 
adeste : cuius Laius dextra occidit, 
hunc non quieta tecta, non fidi lares, 
non hospitalis exulem tellus ferat; 
thalamis pudendis doleat et prole impia ; 260 

hie et parentem dextera perimat sua, 
faciatque (num quid gravius optari potest?) 
quidquid ego fugi. non erit veniae locus, 
per regna iuro quaeque nunc hospes gero 
et quae reliqui perque penetrales deos, 
per te, pater Neptune, qui fluctu brevi 
utrimque nostro geminus alludis solo ; 
et ipse nostris vocibus testis veiii, 
fatidica vatis ora Cirrhaeae movens : 
ita molle senium ducat et summum diem 270 

securus alto reddat in solio parens 
solasque Merope noverit Polybi faces, 
ut nulla sontem gratia eripiet mihi. 


Now at Heaven's command let the crime be 

248 Whoever of the gods dost look with favour upon 
kingdoms — thou/ thou whose are the laws of the 
swift-revolving heavens ; and thou,^ greatest glory 
of the unclouded sky, who presidest over the twelve 
signs ^ in thy changing course, who dost unroll the 
slow centuries with swift wheel ; and thou, his sister,* 
ever faring opposite to thy brother, Phoebe, night- 
wanderer ; thou^ whom tlie winds obey, who over 
the level deep dost speed thy azure car ; and thou ® 
who dost allot homes devoid of light — do ye all 
attend: Him by whose hand Laius fell may no 
peaceful dwelling, no friendly household gods, no 
hospitable land in exile entertain; over shameful 
nuptials may he lament and impious progeny ; may 
he, too, slay his own father with his own hand and 
do — can aught heavier be entreated ? — whatever I 
have fled from. There shall be no place for pardon. 
I swear by the sway which I now, a stranger, bear, 
and by that which I abandoned ; by my household 
gods; by thee, O father Neptune, who in double 
stream dost play against my shores on either side' 
with scanty waves. And do thou " thyself come as 
witness to my words, thou who dost inspire the fate- 
speaking lips of Cirrha's priestess : So maytny father 
spend peaceful age and end his days secure on his 
lofty throne; so may Merope know the nuptial 
torches of her Poly bus alone, as by no grace shall 
the guilty one escape my hand. 

^ Jupiter. * Phoebus, the sun. • i.e. of the Zodiac 
• Phoebe, the moon. * Neptune. • Pluto. 

^ He believes that the Isthmus of Corinth is his native 
land. ' Apollo. 

I S r 449 

Sed quo nefandum facinus admissum loco est, 
memorate : aperto Marte an insidiis iacet ? 


Frondifera sanctae nemora Castaliae petens 
calcavit artis obsituni dumis iter, 
trigemina qua se spargit in campos via. 
secat una gratum Phocidos Baccho solum, 
unde altus arva deserit, caelum petens, 280 

clementer acto colle Parnasos biceps ; 
at una bimares Sisyphi terras adit ; 
Olenia in arva tertius trames cava 
convalle serpens tangit errantes aquas 
gelidumque dirimit amnis Elei ^ vadum. 
hie pace fretum subita praedonum raanus 
aggressa ferro facinus occultum tulit. 

In tempore ipso sorte Phoebea excitus 
Tiresia tremulo tardus accelerat genu 
comesque Man to luce viduatum trahens. 290 

Sacrate divis, proximum Phoebo caput, 
responsa solve ; fare, quem poenae petant. 

Quod tarda fatu est lingua, quod quaerit moras 
haut te quidem, magnaninie, mirari addecet ; 

^ So E : A Elidis : Leo conjectures Aetoll. 


2'* But tell me, where was the impious crime com- 
mitted ? Did he die in open battle or by treachery ? 


Seeking holy Castalia's leafy groves, he trod a 
way hedged in by close-pressing thickets, where the 
road, three-forking, branches out upon the plains. 
One road cuts through Phocis,the land that Bacchus 
loves, whence lofty Parnassus, leaving the lowlands, by 
a gentle slope lifts heavenward his two peaks ; but one 
leads off to the land ^ of Sisyphus bathed by two seas ; 
a third into the Olenian fields, through a low valley 
winding, reaches the vagrant waters and crosses the 
cool shallows of Elis' stream. Here as he fared, 
relying on peaceful times, a band of robbers suddenly 
attacked him with the sword and wrought the crime 

[tiresias is seen approaching. '\ 

288 But in the nick of time, stirred by Phoebus' 
oracle, Tiresias, though slow with trembling limbs, 
comes hurrying, and with him Manto, leading her 
sightless father. 

[Enter tiresias, old and blind, led by his daug/Uer, 


O thou to the gods consecrate, thou next to 
Phoebus' self, explain the oracle ; tell whom the fates 


That my tongue is slow to speak, that it craves 
delay, it behooves thee not, O great-souled Oedipus, 

1 The Isthmus. 


visu carenti magna pars veri latet. 
sed quo vocat me patria, quo Phoebus, sequar. 
fata eruantur ; si foret viridis mihi 
calidusque sanguis, pectore exciperem deum. 
appellite aris candidum tergo bovem 
curvoque numquam colla depressain iugo. 800 

tu lucis inopem, nata, genitorem regens 
manifesta sacri signa fatidici refer. 


Opima sanctas victima ante aras stetit. 


In vota superos voce sollemni voca 
arasque dono turis Eoi extrue. 


lam tura sacris caelitum ingessi focis. 


Quid flamma ? largas iamne comprendit dapes ? 


Subito ref ulsit lumine et subito occidit. 


Vtrumne clarus ignis et nitidus stetit 
rectusque purum verticem caelo tulit 310 



to wonder ; from the blind much of the truth is 
hidden. But whither my country, whither Phoebus 
calls me, I will follow. Let us search out the fates ; 
if my blood were fresh and warm, I would receive 
the god in my own breast.^ Drive to the altars a 
pure white bull and a heifer whose neck has never 
borne the curved yoke. Do thou, my child, who 
guidest thy blind father, report the clear tokens of 
the prophetic sacrifice. 

[The victims are stationed at the altars as directed.^ 


A perfect victim stands before the sacred altars. 

To our vows invoke Heaven's presence with the 
accustomed prayer, and heap the altars with the 
Orient's gift of frankincense. 


Now have I heaped incense on the gods' sacred 


What of the flame ? Doth it already seize upon 
the generous feast .'' 


It flashed up with sudden light, and suddenly 
died down. 


Did the fire stand clear and bright!.'' Did it lift a 
pure, pointed flame straight skyward and, spreading, 

1 i.e. he would ?peak directly by inspiration instead of 
proceeding by the different methoda of divination. 



et summam in auras fusus explicuit comam ? 
an latera circa serpit incertus viae 
et fluctuante turbidus fumo labat ? 


Non una facias mobilis flammae fuit. 
imbrifera qualis implicat varies sibi 
Iris colores, parte quae magna poli 
curvata picto nuntiat nimbos sinu, 
quis desit illi quive sit dubites color, 
caerulea fulvis mixta oberravit notis, 
sanguinea rursus ; ultima in tenebras abit. S20 

Sed ecce pugnax ignis in partes duas 
discedit et se scindit unius sacri 
discors fa villa — genitor, horresco intuens : 
libata Bacchi dona permutat cruor 
ambitque densus regium fumus caput 
ipsosque circa spissior viiltus sedet 
et nube densa sordidam lucem abdidit. 
quid sit, parens, effare. 


Quid fari queam 
inter tumultus mentis attonitae vagus ? 
quidnam loquar ? sunt dira, sed in alto mala ; 330 
solet ira certis numinum ostendi notis. 
quid istud est quod esse prolatum volunt 
iterumque nolunt et truces iras tegunt ? 
pudet deos nescio quid, hue proj)ere admove 
et sparge salsa colla taurorum mola. 
placidone vultu sacra et admotas manus 
patiuntur ? 

unfold its topmost crest upon the air, or sidewise does 
it creep uncertain of its course, and with wavering 
smoke fall murkily ? 


Not one appearance only had the changeful flame. 
As when rain-bringing Iris entwines her various 
colours, who, over a great space of heaven sweeping, 
by her painted bow proclaims the storm, so wouldst 
thou be in doubt what colour is lacking, what is 
present in the flame ; dark blue, mingled with yellow 
spots, it hovered, then was blood-ied, and at last 
trailed off" in blackness. 

^21 But see, the combative flame is separating into 
two parts and the discordant embers of one sacred 
pile are rent in twain — O father, I tremble as I gaze : 
Bacchus' gift poured out changes to blood, and dense 
smoke wreathes the king's head ; denser still it settles 
about his very face and with its thick cloud has hidden 
light in gloom. O father, tell us what it means. 


What can I tell, halting mid conflicting voices of 
a soul amazed? What shall I say.'' Dire ills they 
are, but hidden in mystery. 'Tis the gods' wont with 
clear signs to manifest their wrath. What is it 
which they would, and again would not, reveal ? 
What grim menace are they concealing } Something 
which shames the gods. Quick, bring the victims 
hither, and with salted meal sprinkle the bullocks 
necks. With placid mien do they suffer the rites and 
the outstretched hands ? 




Altum taurus attollens caput 
primes ad ortus positus expavit diem 
trepidusque vultum soils et radios fugit. 


Vnone terram vulnere afflict! petunt ? 


luvenca ferro semet imposlto ^ Indiilt 
et vulnere uno cecidit, at taurus duos 
perpessus ictus hue et hue dubius rult 
animamque fessus vix reluctantem exprimlt. 


Vtrum cltatus vulnere angusto micat 
ap lentus altas irrlgat plagas cruor ? 


Huius per Ipsam qua patet pectus viam 
cffusus amnlSj huius exiguo graves 
tnaculantur ictus Imbre ; sed versus retro 
per ora multus sanguis atque oculos redlt. 

Infausta magnos sacra terrores clent. 
sed ede certas viscerum nobis notas. 

* So Leo, with E: A opposite : Bentley apposite vd impulso. 



Facing the east, the bull, lifting high his head, 
shrank from the day and turned in terror from the 
sun's bright face. 


With one blow smitten do they fall to earth ? 


The heifer threw herself upon the ready steel 
and with one blow fell ; but the bull, twice smitten, 
hither and yon wanders uncertain and feebly drives 
forth his scarce-resisting life. 

Does the blood spurt quick from out a narrow 
thrust, or does it but slowly o'erflood a deep-driven 
blow ? 


The blood of one through the proper path, where 
the breast gapes wide, pours in a stream ; the other's 
grievous wounds are stained with but scanty drops ; 
nay, backward turning, the blood flows copiously 
through mouth and eyes. 


These ill-omened sacrifices rouse dread forebod- 
ings. But describe to me the sure marks of the 




Genitor, quid hoc est ? non levi motu, ut solent, 
agitata trepidant exta, sed totas manus 
quatiunt novusque prosilit venis cruor. 
cor marcet aegrum penitus ae mersum latet 
liveiitque venae ; magna pars fibris abest 
et felle nigro tabidum spumat iecur, 
ac (semper omen unico imperio grave) 
en capita paribus bina consurgunt toris ; 360 

sed utrumque caesum tenuis abscondit caput 
membrana, latebram rebus occultis negans.^ 
hostile valido robore insurgit latus 
septemque venas tendit ; has omnes retro 
prohibens reverti limes oblicus secat. 
mutatus ordo est, sede nil propria iacet, 
sed acta retro cimcta : non animae capax 
in parte dextra pulmo sanguineus iacet, 
non laeva cordis regio, non molli ambitu 
omenta pingues visceri obtendunt sinus. 870 

natura versa est, nulla lex utero manet. 
scrutemur, unde tantus hie extis rigor, 
quod hoc nefas ? conceptus innuptae bovis, 
nee more solito positus, alieno in loco 
implet parentem ; membra cum gemilu mo vet, 
rigore tremulo debiles artus micant. 
infecit atras lividus fibras cruor, 

> The punctuation of Farnabius : Leo tnenibrana: latebram 
. . . negans | hostile valido, etc. 




Father, what is this ? With no gentle motion, as 
is their wont, do the entrails shake and quiver, but 
ray whole hand do they cause to tremble and blood 
spurts afresh from the veins. The heart, diseased 
through and through, is withered and lies deep 
hidden, and the veins are of livid hue. A great part 
of the entrails is wanting, and from the rotting liver 
black gall oozes forth, and see — ever fatal omen for sole 
sovereignty — two heads rise side by side with equal 
bulge ; yet each cloven head is hidden in but thin 
membrane, refusing a lurking place to secret things. 
The hostile ^ side rises with sturdy strength and 
shows seven swelling veins ; but all these an inter- 
cepting line cuts straight across, preventing their 
return. The positions have been changed ; no organ 
lies in its own place, but all things are reversed : on 
the right side lie the lungs all clogged with blood, 
and with no room for breath ; the left is not the 
region of the heart ; no caul with soft covering 
stretches its rich folds over the entrails. Nature 
is subverted ; even the womb follows not its law. 
Let us look close and see whence comes this stiffness 
in the entrails. What monstrosity is this ? A foetus 
in an unmated heifer ! nor does it lie in accustomed 
fashion, but fills its mother in an unnatural place. 
Moaning it moves its limbs, and its weak members 
twitch with convulsive rigors. Livid gore has stained 
the entrails black. [She ceases her inspection as the 
bodies of the victims suddenly begin to wore.] ITie sadly 

^ Farnabius, commenting on the passaere, says that the 
haruspices made an imaginary division of the exta into two 
parts ; the one, called familiaris, they assigned to friendly 
influences, the other, hostilis, to hostile. According to the 
appearance of both these parts, they foretold coming events. 


temptantque turpes mobilem trunci gradum, 
et inane surgit corpus ac sacros petit 
cornu ministros ; viscera effugiunt manum. 380 

neque ista^ quae te pepulit, armenti gravis 
vox est nee usquam territi resonant greges ; 
immugit aris ignis et trepidant foci. 


Quid ista saeri signa terrifici ferant 
exprome ; voces aure non timida hauriara. 
solent suprema facere securos mala.^ 


His invidebis quibus opem quaeris malis. 


Memora quod unum scire caeb'coiae volunt, 
contaminarit rege quis caeso manus. 


Nee alta caeli quae levi pinna secant 890 

nee fibra vivis rapta pectoribus potest 
ciere nomen ; aba temptanda est via ; 
ipse evocandus noctis aeternae plagis, 
emissus Erebo ut caedis auctorem indicet. 
reseranda tellus, Ditis inplacabile 
numen precandum, populus infernae Stygis 
hue extrahendus. ede cui mandes sacrum ; 
nam te, penes quem summa regnorum, nefas 
invisere umbras. 

^ Leo deletes this line, 


mangled forms essay to move, and one disembowelled 
body strives to rise and menaces the priests with its 
horns ; the entrails flee from my band. Nor is that 
sound which strikes thy ears the deep lowing of the 
herd, nor are frightened cattle bellowing anywhere ; 
it is the lowing of the altar-fires, the affrighted 
murmurings of the hearth. 


What do these signs of the terrifying rites portend? 
Declare ; with no timid ear will I drink in thy words 
Extremest ills are wont to make men calm. 


Thou wilt look with envy upon these ills for 
which thou seekest aid. 


Tell me the one thing the gods would have me 
know : who has defiled his hands with the murder of 
the king .'' 


Neither the birds which on light pinion cut the 
depths of heaven, nor vitals plucked from still living 
breasts, can summon up the name. We must essay 
some other path : the king himself must be recalled 
from the regions of perpetual night, that, released 
from Erebus, he may point out his murderer. W^e 
must unseal the earth, must implore the implacable 
divinity of Dis, must draw forth hither the people of 
infernal Styx. Say to whom thou wilt assign the 
awful mission ; for 'tis not right for thee, whose 
are the highest powers of state, to look upon the 



Te, Creo^ hie poscit labor, 
ad quem secundum regna respiciunt mea. 400 


Dura nos profundae claustra laxamus Stygis, 
populare Bacchi laudibus carmen sonet. 


EfFusara redimite comani nutante corymbo, 
mollia Nysaeis armati bracchia thyrsis ! 
Lucidum caeli decus, hue ades 

votis quae tibi nobiles 

Thebae, Baeehe, tuae 

palmis supplicibus ferunt ; 

hue adverte favens virgineum caput, 

vultu sidereo discute nubila 410 

et tristes Erebi minas 

avidumque fatum. 

te decet cingi comam floribus vernis, 

te caput Tyria cohibere mitra 

hederave mollem 

bacifera religare frontem, 

spargere efFusos sine lege crines, 

rursus addueto revoeare nodo ; 

qualis iratam metuens novercara 

creveras falsos imitatus artus, 

crine flaventi simulata virgo, 420 

^ Ariiiatus E E T: annate t|» .• armatae Oronoviua. 



Thee, Creon, this task demands, to whom as next 
n succession my kingdom looks. 


While we are loosing the bars of abysmal Styx 
let the people's h}Tnn sound with the praise of 

[Exeunt creox, tiresias, and manto.] 

Bind your streaming locks with the nodding ivy, 
and in your soft hands grasp the Nysaean thyrsus ! 

■*°5 Bright glory of the sky, come hither to the 
prayers which thine own illustrious Thebes, O 
Bacchus, offers to thee with suppliant hands. Hither 
turn with favour thy virginal face ; with thy star- 
bright countenance drive away the clouds, the grim 
threats of Erebus, and greedy fate. Thee it becomes 
to circle thy locks with flowers of the springtime, 
thee to cover thy head with Tyrian turban, or thy 
smooth brow to wreathe with the ivy's clustering 
berries ; now to fling loose thy lawless-streaming 
locks, again to bind them in a knot close-drawn ; in 
such guise as when, fearing thy stepdame's * wrath, 
thou didst grow to manhood with false-seeming limbs, 

^ While the choruses in Seneca's tragedies are often more 
or less dithyrambic in character, this is his best illustration of 
the dithyramb. For the explanation of references to various 
stories connected with the life of Bacchus see Index s.v. 
"Bacchus "and his other names mentioned by the chorus. 
That the address of these opening lines is to the Bacchant 
women is clear from the terms employed : Effusam comam, 
mollia bracchia. This gives colour to the reading of Gronovius 
in line 404, armatae. 

* Juno's. 



lutea vestem retinente zona. 

inde tarn molles placuere cultus 

et sinus laxi fluidumque syrma. 

vidit aurato residere curru, 

veste cum longa tegeres leones, 

omnis Eoae plaga vasta terrae, 

qui bibit Gangen niveumque quisquis 
frangit Araxen. 
Te senior turpi sequitur Silenus asello, 
turgida pampineis redimitus tempora sertis ; 430 

condita lascivi deducunt orgia mystae. 

te Bassaridum comitata cohors 

nunc Edono pede pulsavit 

sola Pangaeo, nunc Threicio 

vertice Pindi ; nunc Cadmeas 

inter matres impia maenas 

comes Ogygio venit lacclio, 

nebride sacra praecincta latus 438 

thyrsumque levem vibrante manu. 441 

tibi commotae pectora matres fudere 

comam ^ 440 

iam post laceros Pentheos artus . 

thyades, oestro membra remissae, 

velut ignotum videre nefas. 
Ponti regna tenet nitidi matertera Bacchi 
Nereidumque choris Cadmeia cingitur I no ; 
ius habet in fluctus magni puer advena ponti, 
cognatus Bacchi, numen non vile Palaemon. 
'I'e Tyrrhena, puer, rapuit manus, 

et tumidum Xereus posuit mare ; 450 

caerula cum pratis mutat freta. 

1 RichUr thus transpotes U. 439-441 : Leo ddetes I. 439. 

a pretended maiden with golden ringlets, with saffron 
girdle binding thy garments. So thereafter this soft 
vesture has pleased thee, folds loose hanging and the 
long-trailing mantle. Seated in thy golden chariot, 
thy lions with long trappings covered, all the vast 
coast of the Orient saw thee, both he who drinks of 
the Ganges and whoever breaks the ice of snowy 

*-' On an unseemly ass old Silenus attends thee, 
his swollen temples bound with ivy garlands ; while 
thy wanton initiates lead the mystic revels. Along 
with thee a troop of Bassarids in Edonian dance beat 
the ground, now on Mount Pangaeus' peak, now on 
the top of Thracian Pindus ; now midst Cadmean 
dames has come a maenad, the impious comrade of 
Ogygian Bacchus, with sacred fawn-skins girt about 
her loins, her hand a light thyrsus brandishing. Their 
hearts maddened by thee, the matrons have set their 
hair a-flowing ; and at length, after the rending of 
Pentheus' limbs, the Bacchanals, their bodies now 
freed from the frenzy, looked on their infamous deed 
as though they knew it not. 

^^* Cadmean Ino. foster-mother of shining Bacchus, 
holds the realms of the deep, encircled by bands of 
Nereids dancing ; over the waves of the mighty deep 
a boy holds sway, new come, the kinsman of Bacchus, 
no common god, Palaemon. 

*^' Thee, O boy, a Tyrrhenian band once captured 
and Nereus allayed the swollen sea ; the dark blue 
waters he changes to meadows. Thence flourish the 

I 2 o 465 


hinc verno platanus folio viret 

et Phoebe laurus carum nemus ; 

p;arrula per ramos avis obstrepit. 

vivaces hederas remus tenet, 

sumnia ligat vitis carchesia. 

Idaeus prora fremuit leo, 

tigris puppe sedet Gangetica. 

turn pi rata freto pavidiis natat, 

et nova demersos facies habet : * 4G0 

bracchia prima cadunt praedonibus 

inlisumque utero pectus coit^ 

parvula dependet lateri manus 

et dorso fluctum curvo subit, 

lunata scindit cauda mare ; 
et sequitur ciirvus fugientia carbasa delphin. 

Divite Pactolos vexit te Lydius unda, 
Rurea torrenti deducens flumina ripa ; 
laxavit victos arcus Geticasque sagittas 
lactea Massagetes qui pocula sanguine miscet ; 470 
regna securigeri Bacchum sensere Lycurgi ; 

sensere terrae Zalacum ^ feroces 

et quos vicinus Boreas ferit 

arva mutantes 

quasque Maeotis alluit gentes 

frigid o fluctu 

quasque despectat vertice e summo 

sidus Arcadium geminumque plaustrum. 

ille disperses domuit Gelonos, 

arma detraxit trucibus puellis ; 

ore deiecto petiere terram 480 

Thermodontiacae catervae, 

positisque tandem levibus s igittis 

maenades factae. 

sacer Cithaeron sanguine undavit 
* A zedacuiu : Rapheling te Dacum. 


plane- tree with vernal foliage and the laurel-grove 
dear to Phoebus ; the chatter of birds sounds loud 
tlirough the branches. Fast-growing ivy clings to 
the oai-s, and grape-vines twine at tlie mast-head. 
On the prow an Idaean lion roars ; at the stern 
crouches a tiger of Ganges. Then the frightened 
pirates swim in the sea, and plunged in the water 
their bodies assume new forms : the robbers' arms 
first fall away ; their breasts smite their bellies and 
are joined in one ; a tiny hand comes down at the 
side ; w^ith curving back they dive into the waves, 
and With crescent-shaped tail they cleave the sea; 
and now as curved dolphins they follow the fleeing 

**' On its rich stream has Lydian Pactolus borne 
thee, leading along its burning banks the golden 
waters; the Massgetan who mingles blood with 
milk in his goblets has unstrung his vanquisl.ed 
bow and given up his Getan arrows ; the realms 
of axe-wielding Lycurgus have felt the dominion 
of Bacchus ; the fierce lands of the Zalaces have 
felt it, and those wandering tribes whom neigh- 
bouring Boreas smites, and the nations which 
Maeotis' cold water washes, and they on whom 
the Arcadian ^ constellation looks down from the 
zenith and the wagons twain. ^ He has subdued 
the scattered Gelonians ; he has wrested their arms 
from the warrior maidens ; ^ with downcast face 
they fell to earth, those Thermodontian hordes, 
gave up at length their light arrows, and became 
maenads. Sacred Cithaeron has flowed with the 

^ The two phrases refer to the same constellation, con- 
ceived first as bears (see Index s.v. " Arctos"), and second as 
wagons or wains. 

' The Amazons. 


Ophioniaque caede; 
Proetides silvas petiere, et Argos 
praesente Bacchum coluit noverca. 

Naxos Aegaeo redimita ponto 
tradidit thalamis relictam 
virginem, meliore pensans 

damnum marito. 490 

pumice ex sicco 
fluxit Nyctelius latex; 
garruli gramen seeuere rivi, 
conbibit dulces humus alta sucos 
niveique lactis candidos fontes 
et mixta odoro Lesbia cum thymo. 
ducitur magno nova nupta caelo ; 
solemne Phoebus carmen 
infusis humero capillis 

cantat et geminus Cupido 500 

concutit taedas ; 
telum deposuit luppiter igneum 
oditque Baccho veniente fulmen. 

Lucida dum current annosi sidera mundi, 
Oceanus clausum dum fluctibus ambiet orbem 
Lunaque dimissos dum plena recolliget ignes, 
dum matutinos praedicet Lucifer ortus 
altaque caeruleum dum Nerea nesciet Arctos, 
Candida formonsi venerabimur ora Lyaei. 

^ Referring to Pentheus' death. See Index s.v. " Ophion " 
* Ariadne, deserted by Theseus. 

' t.e. wine. See Index s.v. "Nyctelius." The following 


blood of Ophionian^ slaughter; the Proetides fled to 
the woods, and Argos, in his stepdame's very pre- 
sence, paid homage to Bacchus. 

**' Naxos, girt by the Aegean sea, gave him in 
marriage a deserted maiden,^ compensating her loss 
with a better husband. Out of the dry rock there 
gushed Nyctelian liquor ;^ babbling rivulets divided 
the grassy meadows; deep the earth drank in the sweet 
juices, white fountains of snowy milk and Lesbian 
wine mingled with fragrant thyme. The new-made 
bride is led to the lofty heavens ; Phoebus a stately 
anthem sings, with his locks flowing down his 
shoulders, and twin Cupids brandish their torches. 
Jupiter lays aside his fiery weapons and, when Bacchus 
comes, abhors his thunderbolt.* 

504 While the bright stars of the ancient heavens 
shall run in their courses ; while the ocean shall 
encircle the imprisoned earth with its waters ; while 
the full moon shall gather again her lost radiance ; 
while the Day Star shall herald the dawn of the 
morning and while the lofty Bears shall know naught 
of caerulean^ Nereus ; so long shall we worship the 
shining face of beauteous Lyaeus.* 

[Enter creon, returned from the rites of necromancy. '\ 

lines describe the wonders of nature's bountj in honour 
of Bacchus* nuptials. 

* See Index «.r. "Bacchus." 

' Nereus, a sea-god, is here used for the sea itself, and the 
description "sea-blue " is literally applied. 

* Bacchus. 



Etsi ipse vultus flebiles praefert notas, 
exprome cuius capite placemus deos 510 


Fari iubes tacere quae suadet meliis. 


Si te ruentes non satis Thebae movent, 
at sceptra moveant lapsa cogiiatae domus. 


Nescisse cupies nosse quae nimium expetis. 


Iners malorum remedium ignorantia est. 
itane et salutis publicae indicium obrues ? 


Vbi turpis est medicina, sanari piget. 

Audita fare, vel malo domitus gravi 
quid arma possint regis irati scies. 

Odere rages dicta quae dici iubent. 520 



Although thy verv face displays signs of woe, 
declare by whose life we are to appease the gods. 

Thou bidst me speak what fear would leave 

If falling Thebes is not enough to move thee, 
at least be moved by the tottering sceptre of a 
kindred house. 

Thou wilt long not to have known what thou 
desirest o'ermuch to know. 

An idle remedy for ills is ignorance. What ' wilt 
e'en bury revelations of the public weal .-' 

Where foul the medicine, 'tis loathsome to be 

Speak out thy tidings, or, by severe suffering 
broken, thou shalt know what the power of an 
angered king can do. 

Kings hate the words whose speaking they compel. 




Mitteris Erebo vile pro cunctis caput, 
arcana sacri voce ni retegis tua. 


Tacere liceat. ulla libertas minor 
a rege petitur ? 


Saepe vel lingua magis 
regi atque regno muta libertas obest. 


Vbi non licet tacere, quid cuiquam licet ? 


Imperia solvit qui tacet iussus loqui. 


Coacta verba placidus accij^ias precor. 


Vlline poena vocis expressae fuit ? 

Est procul ab urbe lucus ilicibus niger, 530 

Dircaea circa vallis inriguae loca. 
cupressus altis exerens silvis caput 
virente semper alligat trunco nemus, 
curvosque tendit quercus et putres situ 



To Erebus shalt thou be sent^ a cheap sacrifice for 
all, unless by thy speech thou disclose the secrets 
which the rites reveal. 


Let me be silent. Can any less liberty be sought 
from kings? 


Often, e'en more than speech, to king and king- 
dom dumb liberty brings bane. 


When silence is not allowed, what is allowed ? 

He weakens power who is silent when bidden to 


Words forced from me I pray thee hear with calm. 


Was any ever punished for speech compelled ? 

Far from the city is a grove dusky with ilex- 
trees near the well-watered vale of Dirce's fount. 
A cypress, lifting its head above the lofty wood, 
with mighty stem holds the whole grove in its ever- 
green embrace ; and an ancient oak spreads its 


annosa ramos. huius abrupit latus 
edax vetustas ; ilia, iam scissa cadens 
radice, fulta pendet aliena trabe. 
amara bacas laurus et tiliae leves 
et I'aphia myrtus et per immensum mare 
motura remos alnus, et Plioebo obvia, 540 

enode Zephyris pinus opponens latus. 
medio stat ingens arbor atque umbra gravi 
silvas minores urguet et magno ambitu 
diffusa ramos una defendit nemus. 
tristis sub ilia, lucis et Phoebi inscius, 
restagnat umor frigore aeterno rigens ; 
limosa pigrum circumit fontem palus. 

Hue ut sacerdos intulit senior gradum, 
haut est moratus ; praestitit noctem locus, 
tum effossa tellus, et super rapti rogis 550 

iaciuntur ignes. ipse funesto integit 
vates amictu corpus et frondem quatit. 
lugubris imos palla perfundit pedes, 
squalente cultu maestus ingreditur senex, 
mortifera canam taxus adstriiigit comam. 
nigro bidentes vellere atque atrae bovcs 
retro ^ trahuntur. flamma praedatur dapes, 
vivumque trepidat igne ferali pecus. 
vocat inde manes teque qui manes regis 
et obsidenteni claustra Lethaei lacus, 560 

carmenque magicum volvit et rabido minax 
decantat ore quidquid aut placat leves 

^ So A : Leo antro, with E : Richter intro. 


gnarled branches crumbling in decay. The side of 
one devouring time has torn away ; the other, falling, 
its roots rent in twain, hangs propped against a neigh- 
bouring trunk. Here are the laurel with bitter 
berries, slender linden-trees, Paphian myrtle, and 
the alder, destined to sweep its oarage over the 
boundless sea ; and here, mounting to meet the sun, 
a pine-tree lifts its knotless bole to front the winds. 
Midmost stands a tree of mighty girth, and with its 
heavy shade overwhelms the lesser trees and, spread- 
ing its branches with a mighty reach, it stands, the 
solitary guardian of the wood. Beneath this tree a 
gloomy spring o'erflows, that knows nor light nor sun, 
numb with perpetual chill ; an oozy swamp surrounds 
the sluggish pool. 

^*^ Hither when the aged priest came, there was no 
delay ; the place furnished night.^ Then a ditch is 
dug and into it are thrown brands plucked from 
funeral pvres. The priest shrouds his body in a 
mournful pall and waves a branch.- His gloomy 
robe sweeps o'er his feet; in the squalid garb of 
mournhig the old man advances, his hoary hair 
bound with a wreath of death-dealing yew. Biack- 
fleeced ^ sheep and oxen of sable liue are backward 
dragged. The flame devours the feast, and the 
living victims writlie in the deathly fire. Then he 
summons the spirits of the dead, and thee who 
rulest the spirits, and him * who blocks the entrance 
to the Lethaean stream ; o'er and o'er he repeats a 
magic rune, and fiercely, with frenzied lips, he chants 

* The proposed rites were ordinarily performed only at 

* i.e. of some funereal tree, as the yew or cypress. 

* These features are characteristic of the rites of necromancy 
which are here described. 

* Cerberus. 



aut cogit umbras ; sanguinem libat focis 
solidasque pecudes urit et multo specum 
saturat cruore ; libat et niveum insuper 
lactis liquorem, fundit et Bacchum manu 
laeva canitque rursus ac terram intuens 
graviore manes voce et attonita eitat. 

Latravit Hecates turba ; ter valles cavae 
sonuere maestum, tota succusso solo 570 

pulsata tellus. "audior" vates ait, 
" rata verba fudi ; rumpitur caecum chaos 
iterque populis Ditis ad superos datur." 
subsidit omnis silva et erexit comas, 
duxere rimas robora et totum nemus 
concussit horror, terra se retro dedit 
gemuitque penitus — sive temptari abditura 
Acheron profundum mente non aequa tulit, 
sive ipsa Tellus, ut daret functis viam, 
compage rupta sonuit ; aut ira furens 580 

triceps catenas Cerberus movit graves. 

Subito dehiscit terra et immenso sinu 
laxata patuit. ipse torpentes lacus 
vidi inter umbras, ipse pallentes deos 
noctemque veram ; gelidus in venis stetit 
haesitque sanguis, saeva prosiluit cohors 
et stetit in armis omne vipereum genus, 
fratrum cater vae dente Dircaeo satae. 588 

turn torva Erinys sonuit et caecus Furor 590 

Horrorque et una quidquid aeternae creant 



a charm which either appeases or compels the flitting 
ghosts. He makes libation of blood upon the altars, 
burns the victims whole, and soaks the trench with 
plenteous blood. Of snowy milk likewise he makes 
libation, pours wine with his left ^ hand, repeats his 
chants, and, with gaze on ground, summons the ghosts 
with deeper tone and wild. 

^^' Loud bayed the pack of Hecate; thrice the 
deep valley gave out a mournful noise ; the whole 
place was shaken and the ground was stricken from 
below. " My prayers are heard," says the priest ; 
" prevailing words I uttered ; blind Chaos is burst 
open, and for the tribes of Dis a wav is given to 
the upper world." All the wood shrank down, its 
foliage bristling ; the stout oaks were split and the 
whole grove shook with horror ; the earth also shrank 
back, and from her depths gave forth a groan — whether 
Hell brooked it ill that its deep abyss was assailed, 
or Earth of herself, that she might give passage to the 
dead, with crashing noise burst her close barriers ; or 
else in mad rage three-headed Cerberus shook his 
heavy chains. 

*82 Suddenly the earth yawned and opened wide 
^vith gulf immeasurable. Myself, I saw the numb 
pools amidst the shadows ; myself, the wan gods and 
night in very truth. My frozen blood stood still and 
clogged my veins. Forth leaped a savage cohort 
and stood full-armed, the whole viper brood, the troop 
of brothers sprung from Dircaean ^ teeth. Then grim 
Erinys shrieked, and blind Fury and Horror, and all 
the forms which spawn and lurk midst the eternal 

^ Because offered to the malignant infernal powers. 

* A far-fetched epithet from the fact that it was in Dirce'8 
cave that the dragon was found which Cadmus slew and from 
whose teeth the warriors sprang. 


celantque teiiebrae : Luctus avellens comam 
aegreque lassum sustinens Morbus caput, 
gravis Seiiectus sibimet et pendens Metus 594 

avidumque populi Pestis Ogygii malum. 589 

nos liquit animus, ipsa quae ritus senis 5^5 

artesque norat stupuit. intrepidus parens 
audaxque damno convocat Ditis feri 
exsangue vulgus. 

Ilico ut nebulae leves 
volitant et auras libero caelo trahunt. 
non tot caducas educat frondes Eryx 600 

nee vere flores Hybla tot medio creat, 
cum examen arto nectitur densum globo, 
fluctusque non tot frangit Ionium mare, 
nee tanta gelidi Strymonis fugiens minas 
permutat hiemes ales et caelum secans 
tepente Nilo pensat Arctoas nives 
quot ille populos vatis eduxit sonus. 
avide latebras nemoris umbrosi petunt 
animae trementes ; primus emergit solo, 
dextra ferocem cornibus taurum premens, 6lO 

Zethus, manuque sustinens laeva chelyn 
qui saxa dulci traxit Amphion sono ; 
interque natos Tantalis tandem suos 
tuto superba fert caput fastu grave 
et numerat umbras, peior hac genetrix adest 
furibunda Agaue, tota quam sequitur manus 
partita regem, sequitur et Bacchas lacer 
Pentheus tenetque saevus etiam nunc minas. 


shades : Grief, tearing her hair ; Disease, scarce hold- 
ing up her wearied head ; Age,burdened with herself; 
impending Fear, and greedy Pestilence, the Ogygian 
people's curse. Our spirits died within us. Even she * 
who knew the rites and the arts of her aged sire stood 
amazed. But he, undaunted and bold from his lost 
sight, summons the bloodless throng of cruel Dis. 

5^^ Straightway, like clouds, the shadowy forms 
flit forth and snuff the air of open heaven. Not 
as many falling leaves does Eryx show ; nor does 
Hybla in mid-spring as many flowers produce, 
when in close masses cling the swarming bees ; as 
many waves break not on the Ionian sea ; as many 
birds, fleeing cold Strymon's threats, leave not the 
wintry lands and, cleaving the sky, change Arctic 
snows for the warm valley of the Nile ; as were the 
throngs which the priest's call summoned forth. 
Eagerly the shivering ghosts seek the shelter of the 
shady grove. First from the ground, his right hand 
grasping a wild bull by the horns, Zethus emerges, 
and Amphion, in his left holding the shell which by 
its sweet music drew the rocks. And midst her 
children Tantalis,^ at last safe in her pride, holds up 
her head with insolent arrogance, and numbers o'er 
her shades. A mother worse than she. Agave comes, 
still raging ; her the whole band follows who rent 
their king in pieces, and after the Bacchanals mangled 
Pentheus comes, even now savage and holding to 
his threats. 

*■ Manto » Niobe. 



Tandem vocatus saepe pudibundum extulit 
caput atque ab omni dissidet turba procul 620 

celatque semet (instat et Stygias preces 
geminat sacerdos, donee in apertum efFerat 
vultus opertos) — Laius ! fari horreo. 
stetit per artus sanguine effuso horridus, 
paedore foedo squalidam obtectus comam, 
et ore rabido fatur : " O Cadmi effera, 
cruore semper laeta cognato domus, 
vibrate thyrsos, enthea natos manu 
lacerate potius ; maximum Thebis scelus — 
maternus amor est. patria, non ira deum^ 630 

sed scelere raperis. non gravi flatu tibi 
luctificus Auster nee parum pluvio aethere 
satiata tellus halitu sicco nocet, 
sed rex cruentus, pretia qui saevae necis 
sceptra et nefandos occupat thalamos patris, 
invisa proles — sed tamen peior parens 
quam natus^ utero rursus infausto gravis ; 
egitque in ortus semet et matri impios 
fetus regessit, quique vix mos est feris 
fratres sibi ipse genuit — implicitum malum 640 

magisque monstrum Sphinge perplexum sua. 
te, te cruenta sceptra qui dextra geris, 
te pater inultus urbe cum tota petam 
et mecum Erinyn pronubam thalami traham, 
traham sonantem ^ verbera, incestam domum 
vertam et penates impio Marte obteram. 

Proinde pulsum finibus regem ocius 
agite exulem quocumque funesto gradu ; 
solum relinquat ; vere florifero virens 

' So Gronovius : Leo sonontes, with A : Richter sonantig, 
with E : de Wilamowitz trahans silentes, verbere. 



®'^ At length, when often called, one lifts his 
shame-stricken head and, shrinking afar from all the 
throng, seeks to hide himself. The seer presses 
hard after him and redoubles his Stygian prayers, 
until he bring out to open view the features that fain 
would hide — Laius ! I shudder as I tell it. There 
he stood, a sight of horror, his limbs streaming o'er 
with blood, his ragged locks matted with foul filth ; 
and with raving lips he spoke : " O savage house of 
Cadmus, rejoicing ever in kindred blood, brandish the 
thyrsus, with frenzied hands rend thy sons — 'twere 
better so ; for Thebes' crowning crime is — the love of 
mother. O fatherland, not by the wrath of Heaven, 
but by sin art thou despoiled. 'Tis not the plague- 
fraught south wind with its destructive blast, nor yet 
the earth, too little watered by the rain from heaven, 
that with its dry breath is harming thee ; but thy 
blood-stained king, who as tlie price of cruel murder 
has seized the sceptre and the incestuous chamber of 
his sire, detested son I — but worse the mother than 
the son, again pregnant in her unhallowed womb ; 
and to his own origin he returned and brought his 
mother impious progeny, and (a thing the beasts 
scarce do) himself begot brothers to himself — 
entanglement of evil, a monster more confused than 
his own Sphinx. Thee, thee, who in thy blood- 
stained hand dost hold the sceptre, thee and thy 
whole city will I, thy father, still unavenged, pursue; 
and with me Erinys as bridesmaid of thy nuptials 
will I bring, yea, 1 will bring her sounding with her 
lash ; thine incestuous house will I overturn and thy 
household with unnatural strife will I destroy. 

647 « Wherefore speedily expel ye the king from 
out your borders, in exile drive him to any place so- 
ever with his baleful step. Let him leave the land ; 

I 2h 481 

reparabit herbas, spiritus puros dabit 650 

vitalis aura, veniet et silvis decor ; 
Letum LuesquCj Mors Labor Tabes Dolor, 
comitatus illo dignus, excedent simul. 
et ipse rapidis gressibus sedes volet 
efFugere nostras, sed graves pedibus moras 
addam et tenebo ; repet incertus viae, 
baculo senili triste praetemptans iter, 
eripite terras, auferam caelum pater," 

Et ossa et artus gelidus invasit tremor; 
quidquid timebam facere fecisse arguor — C60 

tori iugalis abnuit Merope nefas, 
sociata Polybo ; sospes absolvit manus 
Polybus meas. uterque defendit parens 
caedem stuprumque ; quis locus culpae est super ? 
multo ante Thebae Laium amissum geniunt, 
Boeota gressu quam meo tetigi loca. 
falsusne senior an deus Thebis gravis? — 
iam iam tenemus callidi socios doli : 
mentitur ista praeferens fraudi deos 
vates, tibique sceptra despondet mea. 670 

Egone ut sororem regia expelli velim ? 
si me fides sacrata cognati laris 
non contineret in meo certum statu, 
tamen ipsa me fortuna terreret nimis 


then, blooming with flowers of spring, shall it renew 
its verdure, the life-giving air shall give pure breath 
again, and their beauty shall come back to the woods ; 
Ruin and Pestilence, Death, Suffering, Corruption 
and Distress, fit company for him, shall all depart 
together. And he himself with hastening steps 
shall long to flee our kingdom, but I will set weari- 
some delays before his feet and hold him back. He 
shall creep, uncertain of his way, with the staff of 
age groping out his gloomy way.^ Rob ye him of 
the earth ; his father will take from him the sky." ^ 

An icy chill has crept through my bones and 
limbs ; all that I feared to do I am accused of having 
done. But Merope, still wed to Polybus, refutes 
the charge of incest ; and Polybus, alive and well, 
cleanses my hands. Each parent clears me from 
the charge of blood and incest : what room is left 
for crime .'' As for Laius, 1 hebes mourned his loss 
long ere I set foot on Boeotian soil. Is the old priest 
lying, or is some god oppressing Thebes ? ^ — Now, 
now I hold the confederates of a crafty plot : the 
priest invents these charges, using the gcnis as a 
screen for trickery and to thee he promises my 


I, should I wish my sister driven from the throne ? 
If sacred fealty to my kindred house held me not 
fixed in my present station, yet that high estate 
itself, ever o'erfraught with care, would frighten me. 
Let it be thine in safety to lay off this burden, 

^ Both passages point to Oedipus' self-inflicted blindnees. 
* i.e. bringiug seuition as well as pestilence. 


sollicita semper, liceat hoc tuto tibi 
exuere pondus nee recedeiitem opprimat ; 
iam te minore tutior pones loco. 


Hortaris etiam, sponte deponam ut mea 
tam gravia regna .'' 


Suadeam hoc illis ego, 
in utrumque quis est liber etiamnum status ; 
tibi iam necesse est ferre fortunam tuam. 


Certissima est regnare cupienti via 
laudare modica et otium ac somnum loqui, 
ab inquieto saepe simulator quies. 


Parumne me tam longa defendit fides ? 


Aditum nocendi perfido praestat fides. 


Solutus onere regio regni bonis 
fruor domusque civium coetu viget, 
nee ulla vicibus surgit alternis dies 
qua non propinqui munera ad nostros lares 
sceptri redundent; cultus, opulentae dapes, 
donata multis gratia nostra salus. 
quid tam beatae desse fortunae rear ? 


nor let it o'erwhelm thee when thou wouldst with- 
draw. Now more safely wilt thou set thyself in 
humbler place. 


Dost even urge me of free will to lay down the 
heavy cares of state ? 


Thus would I counsel those to whom the way 
e'en yet is open to either choice ; but as for thee 
'tis necessary now to bear thy lot. 

Whoso longs to reign, his surest way is to praise 
bumble life and prate of ease and sleep. Calm is 
oft counterfeited by a restless soul. 

Does not ray long loyalty plead enough for me ? 


To traitors loyalty gives opening for treason. 


Free from a king's burdens, 1 enjoy a king's advan- 
tages; my home is honoured by throngs of citizens, 
and no day rises to dawning from the night on 
which my royal kinsman's bounty does not overflow 
my house ; apparel, rich food, deliverance, all are 
granted to many through my favour. What should 
I think still lacking to a lot so blest .'' 




Quod dest; secunda non habent umquam modum, 


Incognita igitur ut nocens causa cadam ? 


Num ratio vobis reddita est vitae meae ? 
num audita causa est nostra Tiresiae ? tamen 
sontes videmur. facitis exemplum ; sequor. 


Quid si innocens sum ? 


Dubia pro certis solent 
timere reges. 


Qui pavet vanos metus, 700 

veros meretur. 


Quisquis in culpa fuit, 
dimissus odit ; omne quod dubium est cadat. 


Sic odia fiunt 


Odia qui nimium timet 
regnare nescit ; regna custodit metus. 



What still is lacking ; ^ prosperity has no bounds. 


Shall I then, my cause unheard, fall like a criminal ? 

Did ye show due regard unto ray life ? Did 
Tiresias hear my cause ? And yet ye hold me 
guilty. Ye set the example ; I but follow it. 


What if I am innocent ? 


Doubts as if certainties kings are wont to fear. 


Who trembles with vain fear, true fear deserves. 


Set free the guilty, and he hates; let all that's 
doubtful perish. 


Thus is hatred bred. 


He who fears hatred overmuch, knows not to rule ; 
fear is the giiard of kingdoms. 

' i.e. royal power. 



Qui sceptra duro saevus imperio regit, 
timet timentes ; metus in auctoiem redit. 


Servate sontem saxeo inclusum specu. 
ipse ad penates regios referam giadum. 


Non tu tantis causa periclis, 
non hinc Labdacidas petunt 710 

fataj sed veteres deum 
irae secuntur. Castalium nemus 
unibram Sidonio praebuit hospiti 
lavitque Dirce Tyrios colonos, 
ut primum niagni natus Agenoris, 
fessus per orbem furta sequi lovis, 
sub nostra pavidus constitit arbore 
praedonem venerans suum^ 
monituque Phoebi 

iussus erranti comes ire vaccae, 720 

quam non flexerat 
vomer aut tardi iuga curva plaustri, 
deseruit fugas nomenque genti 
inauspicata de bove tradidit. 

Tem])ore ex illo nova monstra semper 
protulit tellus : 

aut anguis imis vallibus editus 
annosa supra robora sibilat, 
superatque ^ pinus ; 

1 So Richter, with E : Leo supraque, with A. 



Who harshly wields the sceptre with tjTannic 
sway, fears those who fear ; terror recoils upon its 
author's head. 

OEDIPUS [to attendants^ 

Shut up the guilty man in a rocky dungeon and 
guard him well. I to the royal palace will return. 
[cREON is led away by attendants. Exit oedipus.] 

Not thou 1 the cause of our great perils, not on 
thy account do the fates assail the house of Labdacus; 
na}', 'tis the ancient wrath of the gods that follows 
us. Castalia's grove lent its shade to the Sidonian 
wanderer ^ and Dirce bathed the colonists from Tyre, 
what time great Agenor's son,^ weary with tracking 
Jove's thefts^ over all the world, in fear halted 
beneath our trees, worshipping his sister's ravisher ; 
and, by the advice of Phoebus, bidden to follow a 
straying heifer which had never bent beneath the 
plough or the slow wain's curving yoke, he gave over 
his quest * and named a nation^ from that ill-omened 

'25 From that time on, our land has e'er produced 
strange monsters : either a serpent, rising from the 
valley's depths, hisses on high above the ancient 
oaks and overtops the pines ; ever higher, above the 

^ Oedipus. * Cadmus. 

* Europa, whom Jove, in bull form, had stolen away. 
Agenor had sent Cadmus to find her, with instructions not 
to return unless successful. 

* i.e. the quest enjoined upon him by his father. 

* Boeotia, from ^oxn. 



supra Chaonias celsior arbores ^ 

erexit caeruleum caput, 

cum maiore sui parte recumberet ; 730 

aut feta tellus impio partu 

efFudit arma : sonuit reflexo 

classicum cornu lituusque adunco 

stridulos cantus elisit acre ; ^ 

non ante linguas agiles et ora 

vocis ignotae clamore primum 

hostico experti. 

Agmina campos cognata tenent, 
dignaque iacto semine proles, 
uno aetatem pennensa die, 74-0 

post Luciferi nata meatus 
ante Hesperios occidit ortus. 
horret tantis advena monstris 
populique timet bella recetitis, 
donee cecidit saeva iuventus 
genetrixque suo reddi gremio 
modo productos vidit alumnos. 
hac transient civile nefas ! 
ilia Herculeae norint Thebae 
proelia fratrum ! 750 

Quid Cadmei fata nepotis, 
cum vivacis comua cervi 
frontem ramis texere novis 
dominumque canes egere suum ? 
praeceps silvas montesque fugit 
citus Actaeon agilique magis 
pede per saltus ac saxa vagus 
metuit motas zephyris plumas 
et quae posuit retia vitat ; 

' Leo deletes this line. 

^ Leo commentt: post 734 dictum oportuit spartoB pugnam 


Chaonian trees he lifts his dark-blue headj although 
his greater part still lies upon the ground ; or else 
the earth, teeming with impious birth, brings forth 
armed men : loud resounded the battle-call from 
the curving horn, and the brazen trumpet sent forth 
its piercing notes. Their tongues and lips, ne'er 
nimble before, were first employed in the battle- 
cry of their unfamiliar voice. 

'^^ The kindred bands filled the plains, and this 
ofispring, worthy the seed that had been sown, 
measured their life by a single day ; born after the 
passing of the Morning Star, they perished ere 
Hesperus arose. The wanderer^ quaked at pro- 
digies so strange, and fearfully awaited the assault 
of the new-born folk ; until the savage youth ^ fell in 
death, and their mother^ beheld the children she 
had but now brought forth returned to her own 
bosom. With this may the horror of civil strife have 
passed ! May the Thebes of Hercules * know those 
fratricidal struggles only ! 

'5^ What of the doom of Cadmus' grandson, when 
the antlers of a long-lived stag covered his brow 
with their strange branches, and his own hounds 
pursued their master? Headlong from the woods 
and mountains the swift Actaeon fled, and with 
feet more nimble, scouring glades and rocky 
places, shuddered at the feathers ^ fluttering 
in the breeze, and avoided the snares he him- 
self had set ; at length he gazed into the still 

' i.e. Cadmus, exiled by his father. 

* The monsters sprung from the dragon's teeth. 
» The earth. 

* Hercules was born at Thebes. 

* Tied to bushes along deer-runs in order to frighten the 
animals in the desired direction. 


donee placidi fontis in unda 760 

cornua vidit vultusque feros. 
ibi virgineos foverat artus 
nimium saevi diva pudoris ! 


Curas revolvit animus et repetit metus. 
obisse nostro Laium scelere autumant 
superi inferique, sed animus contra innocens 
sibique melius quam deis notus negat. 
redit memoria tenue per vestigium, 
cecidisse nostri stipitis pulsu obvium 
datumque Diti, cum prior iuvenem senex 770 

curru superbus pelleret, Thebis procul 
Phocaea trifidas regio qua scindit vias. 

Unanima coniunx, explica errores precor ; 
quae spatia moriens Laius vitae tulit ? 
primone in aevo viridis an fracto occidit ? 


Inter senem iuvenemque, sed propior sent 


Frequensne turba regium cinxit latus? 


Phires fefellit error ancipitis viae, 
paucos fidelis curribus iunxit labor. 


Aliquisne cecidit regio iato comes ? 780 



pool's water and saw his horns and his beaat-Hke 
countenance. 'Twas in that same pool the goddess ^ 
of too stem chastity had bathed her virgin limbs ! 


My soul broods o'er its cares and renews its 
fears. That by my crime Laius fell, gods both of 
heaven and hell affirm ; and yet my soul, conscious 
of innocence and known to itself better than to the 
gods, makes denial. Retracing the dim path of 
memory, I see one met on the way fallen 'neath 
the blow of my stout staff and given o'er to Dis ; but 
first the old man arrogantly from his car thrust the 
younger from the way. Yet that was far from Thebes, 
where Phocis' land parts the three-forked roads. 

[Enter jocasta.] 

'" O thou, my soul's own mate, resolve my doubts, 
I pray thee ; what span of life had Laius at his death ? 
In the fresh prime of life died he, or in broken age ? 


Midway between age and youth, but nearer age. 


Did a great throng gird the king about ? 

The most mistook the uncertain path and strayed ; 
a few by faithful toil kept near his car. 


Did any companion share the royal fate ? 
* Diana. 




Vnum fides virtusque consortem addidit. 


Teneo nocentem ; convenU numerus, locus ; 
sed tempus adde. 


Decima iam metitur seges. 


Corinthius te populus in regnum vocat 
patrium. quietem Polybus aeternam obtinet. 


Vt undique in me saeva Fortuna irruit ! 
edissere agedum, quo cadat fato parens. 


Animam senilem mollis exsolvit sopor. 


Genitor sine ulla caede defunctus iacet. 
testor, licet iam tollere ad caelum pie 790 

puras nee ulla scelera metuentes manus. 
sed pars magis metuenda fatorum manet. 


Omnem paterna regna discutient metum. 



One did faith and valour cause to share his fate. 

OEDIPUS [ande] 

I have the guilty man ; the number tallies^ and 
the place. [7*0 JOCASTA.] But add the time. 


Now is the tenth harvest being reaped. 

[Enter an old Corinthian messenger.'^ 


The Corinthians summon thee to thy father's 
throne. Polybus has gained his everlasting rest. 

How heartless Fortune assails me on every hand ! 
But tell me by what fate my sire is fallen. 


Soft slumber set his aged spirit free. 


My father lies dead, and by no violence. I call 
to witness that now I may lift clean hands to heaven, 
hands that need fear no charge of crime. But the 
more fearful part of my fates remains. 


All fears thy father's kingdom will dispel. 




Repetam paterna regna ; sed matrem horreo. 


Metuis parentem, quae tuura reditum expetens 
sollicita pendet ? 


Ipsa me pietas fugat. 


Viduam relinques ? 


Tangis en ipsos metus ! 


EfTare mersus quis premat mentem timor ; 
praestare tacitam regibus soleo fidem. 


Conubia matris Delphico admonitu tremo. 800 


Timere vana desine et turpes metus 
depone ; Merope vera non fuerat parens. 


Quod subditivi praemium nati petit ? 


I would seek my father's kingdom, but from my 
mother do I shrink. 

Dost fear thy mother, who, in anxious suspense, 
longs for thy coming ? 


'Tis love itself bids me flee. 


Wilt leave her Avidowed ? 


There dost thou touch on the very thing I fear ! 


Spe ak out ; what hidden fear weighs on thy soul ? 
'Tis my wont to offer kings a loyal silence. 


Warned by the Delphic oracle, I dread my 
mother's bed. 


Then cease thy empty fears, thy horrible fore- 
bodings; Merope was not in truth Ihy mother. 


What did she hope to gain by a changeling son ? 
I 2 I 497 



Regum ^ superbam liberi astringunt fidem. 


Secreta thalami fare quo excipias modo. 


Hae te parent! parvulum tradunt manus. 


Tu me parenti tradis ; at quis me tibi ? 


Pastor nivoso sub Cithaeronis iugo. 


In ilia temet nemora quis casus tulit? 


Illo sequebar monte cornigeros greges. 810 


Nunc adice certas corporis nostri notas. 


Forata ferro gesseras vestigia, 
tumore nactus nomen ac vitio pedum. 

^ So Leo with the best MSS. : Regnum superbam, etc., A. 

1 The meaning of this sententia, especially in its application 
as Merope's reason for secretly adopting a son, is not altogether 
clear. Various suggestions have bieen offered by commentators 




Kings' children hold rude loyalty in check.* 


The secrets of the chamber — tell how thou knowest 


'Twas these hands gave thee, a tiny babe, unto thy 


Thou gav'st nie to my mother ; but who gave me 
to thee ? 


A shepherd, 'neath Cithaeron's snowy peak. 


What chance brought thee within that wood ? 


On that mountain-side was I tending my horned 


Now name also the sure marks upon my body. 

Thy soles had been pierced with iron, and thou 
hast thy name* from thy swollen and crippled feet. 

as to the interpretation. Perhaps the simpleat interpretation 
is the best, that royal oflfspring (and hence the insurance 
of succession) is the strongest hold upon lagging loyalty which 
threatens to fall away. 

' Oi5/tovx, "swollen-footed." 




Quis fuerit ille qui meum dono dedit 
corpus requiro. 


Regies pavit greges ; 
minor sub illo turba pastorum fuit. 


Eloquere iiomen. 


Prima languescit senum 
memoria longo lassa sublabens situ, 


Potesne facie noscere ac vultu virum ? 


Fortasse noscam ; saepe iam spatio obrutam 820 
levis exoletam memoriam revocat nota. 


Ad sacra et aras omne compulsum pecus 
duces sequantur; ite^ propere accersite, 
famulij penes quos sunima consistit gregura. j 


Sive ista ratio sive fortuna occulit, 
latere semper patere quod latuit diu ; 
saepe eruentis Veritas patuit malo. 


Who was he who gave thee my body as a gift ? I 
seek to know. 


He fed the royal flocks ; there was a liumbler band 
of shepherds under him. 


Tell me his name. 


An old man's early memory grows faint, failing 
through weakness and long disuse. 


Couldst recognize the man by face and feature ? 


Perchance I might ; some trifling mark oft-times 
calls back the memory of things that time hath 
buried and made dim. 


Let all the flocks be driven hither to the sacred 
altars, their guides with them ; go, slaves, and 
quickly summon those with whom is the herds' 
chief control. 

\The slaves depart on the errand.'^ 


Whether design or chance conceals these things, 
suffer to lie hid for ever what has lain hid so long ; 
truth often is made clear to the discoverer's bane. 




Malum timeri maius his aliquod potest? 


Magnum esse magna mole quod petitur scias. 
concurrit illinc publica, hinc regis salus, 830 

utrimque paria ; contine madias manus, 
nihil lacessas, ipsa se fata explieent. 


Non expedit concutere felicem statum ; ^ 
tuto movetur quidquid extreme in loco est 


Nobilius aliquid genere regali appetis ? 
ne te parentis pigeat inventi vide. 


Vel paenitendi sanguinis quaeram fidem ; 
sic nosse certum est. 

Ecce grandaevus senex, 
arbitria sub quo regii fuerant gregis, 
Phorbas. refcrsne nomen aut vultum senis? 840 


Adridet animo forma ; nee notus satis, 
nee rursus iste vultus ignotus mihi. 

^ Modern editors have rvjktly assigned I. 833 to Oedipus, 
whereas old editors, with A, gave the line to the Old Man. 




Can any bane greater than all this be feared ? 


Greatj be thou sure, is that bane which thou 
seekst with toil so great. Here meet, from that side 
and from this, the public weal and the king's, and 
both are in equal balance. Keep thy hand from 
both ; challenge thou nothing ; let the fates unfold 


'Tis not expedient to disturb a happy state ; that 
is with safety changed which is at its worst. 


Dost seek for a nobler thing than royal lineage ? 
Beware lest thou rue the finding of thy parentage. 


I will seek certainty even of rueful birth ; so 
resolved am I to know. 

[Enter phorbas. oedipus to himself.] 

^^ Behold the ancient, heavy with years, once 
keeper of the royal flocks, Phorbas. [To old man.] 
Dost recall the old man's name or features ? 

old man 

His form comes easily to my memory ; but that 
face, while not well known, again is not unknown 
to me. 

^ i.e. let well enough alone. The condition of the state is 
critical, and Oedipus' personal problem is acute ; but wisdom 
bids keep hands off and let the fates unfold themselves. 


Regnum optinente Laio famulus greges 
agitasti opimos sub Cithaeronis plaga ? 


Laetus Cithaeron pabulo semper novo 
aestiva nostro prata summittit gregi. 


Noscisne memet ? 


Dubitat anceps memoria. 


Huic aliquis a te traditur quondam puer ? 
cfFare. dubitas ? cur genas mutat color? 
quid verba quaeris ? Veritas odit moras. 850 


Obducta longo tcmjiorum tractu moves. 


Fatere, ne te cogat ad verum dolor. 


Inutile isti munus infantis dedi ; 
non potuit ille luce^ non caelo frui. 


Procul sit omen I vivit et vivat precor. 



^^^ While LaTus lield the throne, didst ever as a 
.e drive rich flocks on Cithaeron's tracts? 


Cithaeron, abounding ever in fresh pasturage, in 
araer-time gave feeding-ground for uiy flocks. 


Dost thou know me ? 


My memory falters and is in doubt. 


Didst thou once give a boy to this man here ? 
ak out. Thou faltcrest? Why do thy cheeks 
nge colour? Why seekst for words? Truth 
scorns delay. 


Thou stirrest matters o'erclouded by long lapse of 


Speak, lest pain force thee to the truth. 


I did give him an infant, a worthless gift ; never 
could he have enjoyed the light or sky. 


Far be the omen ! He lives and I pray may li\e. 




Superesse quare traditum infantem negas ? 


Ferrum per ambos tenue transactum pedes 
ligabat artuSj vulneri innatus tumor 
puerile foeda corpus urebat lues. 


Quid quaeris ultra? fata iam accedunt prope. 860 
quis fuerit infans edoce. 


Prohibet fides. 


Hue aliquis ignem ! flamma iam excutiet fidem. 


Per tam cruentas vera quaerentur vias ? 
ignosce quaeso. 


Si ferus videor tibi 
et impotenSj parata vindicta in manu est: 
die vera, quisnam? quove generatus patre ? 
oua matre genitus .'' 


Coniuge est genitus tua. 



Why dost thou say that the child tl-ou gavest did 

not survive ? 


Through both his feet a slender iron rod was driven, 
liinding his legs together. A swelling^ engendered 
in the wound, galled the child's body, a loathsome 


OEDIPUS [to himself] 

Why seekest further ? Now doth fate draw near. 
[ To PHORBAS.] Who was the babe ? Speak out. 


My loyalty forbids. 


Hither with fire, someone ! Now shall flames 
banish loyalty. 


Is truth to be sought along such cruel ways ? 
P :don I beg. 


If I seem harsh to thee^ and headstrong, ven- 
geance is in thy hands ; speak tlutu the truth. 
Who was he? Of what sire begot ? Of what mother 

born ? 


Bom of thy — nnfe. 

' See 1. 813; note. 




Dehisce, tellus, tuque teuebrarum polens, 
in Tartara ima, rector umbrarum, rape 
retro reversas generis ac stirpis vices, 870 

congerite, cives, saxa in infandum caput, 
mactate telis. me petat ferro parens, 
me natus, in me coniuges arment manus 
fratresque, et aeger populus ereptos rogis 
iaculetur ignes. saeculi crimen vagor, 
odium deorum, iuris exitium sacri, 
qua luce primmn spiritus hausi rudes 
iam morte dignus. redde nunc animos acres,^ 
nunc aliquid aude sceleribus dignum tuis. 
i, perge, propero regiam gressu pete ; 880 

gratare matri liberis auctam domum. 


Fata si liceat mihi 

fingere arbitrio meo, 

temperem zephyro levi 

vela, ne pressae gravi 

spiritu antennae treniant. 

lenis et modice fluens 

aura nee vergens latus 

ducat intrepidara ratem ; 

tuta me media vehat 89O 

vita decurrens via. 

Cnosium regem timens 

astra dum demens petit 

artibus fisus novis, 

certat et veras aves 

vincere ac falsis nimis 

imperat pinnis puer, 
^ Animos parens A ; Heinsius suggests pares, Bucheler feroa 
or truces. 



Yawn, earth ! And do thou, king of the dark world, 
ruler of shades^ to lowest Tartarus hurl tliis unnatural 
interchange 'twixt brood and stock. Citizens, heap 
stones upon my accursed head ; slay me with weapons. 
Let father, let son assail me with the sword ; let 
husbands and brothers arm hands against me, and let 
the sick populace snatch brands from the pyres and 
hurl them at me. The crime of the age I wander, 
hate of the gods, destruction of holy law, the very 
day I drew the untried air already worthy death. 
[To himself.'\ Now be stout of soul, now dare some 
deed worthy of thy crimes. Go, get thee to the 
palace with hurrying feet ; congratulate thy mother 
on her house enriched by children. [Exit. 


Were it mine to shape fate at my will, I would trim 
my sails to gentle winds, lest my yards tremble, bent 
'neath a heavy blast. May soft breezes, gently 
blowing, unvarying, carry my untroubled barque 
along ; may life bear me on safely, running in middle 

892 While, in fear of the Cretan king, madly the 
lad ^ sought the stars, in strange devices trusting, 
and strove to vanquish true birds in flight, and laid 
his commands on pinions all too false, his name he 

* Icarus. 



nomen eripuit freto. 

calliilus medium senex 

Daedalus librans iter 900 

nube sub media stetit, 

alitem expectans suam 

(qualis accipitris minas 

fugit et sparsos metu 

conligit fetus avis), 

donee in ponto manus 

movit implicitas puer 

compede audacis viae. 

quid quid excessit modum 

pendet instabili loco. 910 

Sed quid hoc ? postes sonant ; 
maestus en famulus manu 
regius quassat caput, 
ede quid portes novi. 


Praedicta postquam fata et infandum genus 
deprendit ac se scelere convictum Oedipus 
damnavit ipse, regiam infestus petens 
invisa propero tecta penetravit gradu. 
qualis per arva Libycus insanit leo, 
fulvam minaci fronte concutiens iubam ; Q20 

vultus furore torvus atque oculi truces, 
gemitus et altum murmur, et gelidus fluit 
sudor per artus, spumat et volvit minas 
ac mersus alte magnus exundat dolor, 
secum ipse saevus grande nescio quid parat 
suisque fatis simile. 

" Quid poenas moror ? " 
ait " hoc scelestum pectus aut ferro petat, 
aut fervido aliquis igne vel saxo domet. 
quae tigris aut quae saeva visceribus meis 



robbed the sea of its own name.^ But shrewd old 
Daedalus, balancing a middle path, stopped midway of 
the clouds, awaiting his winged son (as a bird flees the 
threatening hawk and gathers her scattered and 
frightened brood), until the boy in the sea plied 
hands enmeshed in the shackles of his daring flight. 
Whatsoever exceeds the allotted bounds, hangs in a 
place unsure. 

[^Enter a messenger from within the palace.^ 

^^^ But what is this ? The doors creak open ; be- 
hold, a servant of the king, stricken with woe, beats 
with his hand upon his head. Tell us what news 
thou bringst. 


When Oedipus grasped his foretold fate, and his 
breed unspeakable, he condemned himself as con- 
victed of the crime and, seeking the palace with 
deadly purpose, he entered within that hateful roof 
with hurried step. As over the fields a Libyan lion 
rages, with threatening front and shaking his tawny 
mane ; so he, his face fierce with passion, with eyes 
wild staring, with groans and deep mutterings, limbs 
with cold sweat streaming, froths and threatens, and 
his mighty, deep-buried anguish overflows. He, 
raging in soul, plans some monstrous deed to match 
his destiny. 

926 It Why do I delay punishment "i " he cries ; 
" let someone with the sword assail this guilty 
breast, or overwhelm me with burning fire or stones. 
What tigress, what ravening bird will pounce upon 

^ The sea was subsequently called after him the Icarian 


incurret ales ? ipse tu scelerum capax, 930 

sacer Cithaeron^ vel feras in me tuas 
emitte silvis, mitte vel rabidos canes — 
nunc redde Agauen. anime, quid mortem times ? 
mors innocentem sola fortunae eripit." 

Haec fatus aptat impiam capulo manum 
ensemque ducit. " itane ? tam magnis breves 
poenas sceleribus solvis atque uno omnia 
pensabis ictu ? moreris — hoc patri sat est ; 
quid deinde matri, quid male in lucem editis 
natis, quid ipsi, quae tuum magna luit 940 

seel us ruina, flebili patriae dabis ? 
solvendo non es ! ilia quae leges ratas 
Natura in uno vertit Oedipoda, novos 
commenta partus, supplicis eadem meis 
novetur. iterum vivere atque iterum niori 
liceat, renasci semper ut totiens nova 
supplicia pendas. utere ingenio, miser ; 
quod saepe fieri non potest fiat diu — 
mors eligatur longa. quaeratur via 
qua nee sepultis mixtus et vivis tamen 950 

exemptus erres ; morere^ sed citra palrem. 
cunctaris, anime ? " 

Subitus en vultus gravat 
profusus imber ac rigat fletu genas. 
" et flere satis est ? hactenus fundent levem 
oculi liquorem ? sedibus pulsi suis 
lacrimas sequantur. di niaritales, satin ? 
fodiantur oculi ! " dixit atque ira furit ; 


my vitals ? Do thou thyself, thou all-holding haunt 
of crime, O curst Cithaeron, send thy wild beasts 
against me from thy forests, send thy maddened 
dogs — once more send Agave, ^ O soul, why 
shrinkst from death? 'Tis death alone saves inno- 
cence from fortune," 

835 With this he lays impious hand on hilt and 
draws his sword. " So then ? With brief suffering 
like this canst atone for so great crimes, and with one 
blow wilt pay all debts ? Thy death — for thy father 
'tis, enough ; what then to thy mother, what to thy 
children shamefully begot, what to her who with 
utter ruin is atoning for thy crime, thy mourning 
country, wilt thou give ? Thou canst not pay ! ^ 
Let that same Nature who in Oedipus alone reverses 
established laws, devising strange births, be changed 
anew for my punishment. Be it thine to live again, 
to die again, ever to be reborn, that at each birth 
thou mayst pay new penalties. Now use thy wit, 
poor wretch ; let that which may not oft befall, 
befall thee long— choose thou a lastin£r death. 
Search out a way whereon to wander, not min- 
gling with the dead and yet removed from the living ; 
die thou, but reaching not thy sire. Dost hesitate, 
O soul ? " 

^°^ Lo, with sudden shower a flood o'erwhelms his 
face and waters his cheeks with weejiing. "And 
is it enough to weep ? Only thus far shall mine eyes 
o'erflow with some few drops .'' Nay, driven from 
their sockets, let them follow the tears they shed. 
Ye gods of wedlock, is it enough ? These eyes must 
be dug out ! " He speaks and raves with wrath ; his 

* Agave in her madness had helped tear Pentheus in pieces. 

* t.c. by mere death. The Latlu is the regular phrase for 

1 2 K 513 


ardent minaces igne truculento genae 

oculique vix se sedibus retinent suls ; 

violentus audax vultus, iratiis ferox, QdO 

tantum furentis ; ^ gemuit et dirum fremens 

manus in ora torsit. at contra truces 

oculi steterunt et suam intenti manum 

ultro insecuntur, vulneri occurrunt suo. 

scrutatur avidus manibus uncis lumina, 

radice ab ima funditus vulsos simul 

evolvit orbes ; haeret in vacuo manus 

et fixa penitus unguibus lacerat cavos 

alte recessus luminum et inanes sinus, 

saevitque frustra plusque quani satis est furit. 970 

Factum^ est periclum lucis ; attollit caput 
cavisque lustrans orbibus caeli plagas 
noctem experitur. quidquid effossis male 
dependet oculis rumpit, et victor deos 
conclamat omnes : "parcite, en, patriae precor ; 
iam iusta feci, debitas poenas tuli ; 
inventa thalamis digna nox tandem meis." 
rigat ora foedus imber et lacerum caput 
largum revulsis sanguinem venis vomit. 


Fatis agimur ; cedite fatis. 9^0 

non soUicitae possunt curae 
mutare rati stamina fusi, 
quidquid patimur mortale genus, 
quidquid facimus venit ex alto, 
servatque suae decreta col us 
Lacliesis nulla revoluta manu. 
omnia secto tramite vadunt 

So Richter : A cruentus : Zeo with E, eruentis. 
So Leo : furit ; tantum w, corr. Madvig, II. 19. 



cheeks bum threatening with ferocious fire, and his 
eyeballs scarce hold themselves in their place ; his 
face is full of reckless daring and mad savagery, as of 
one in boundless rage ; with groans and dreadful 
cries, his hands into his eyes he thrusts. But his 
starting eyes stand forth to meet them and, eagerly 
following their kindred hands, rush upon their 
wound. With hooked fingers he greedily searches 
out his eyes and, torn from their very roots, he 
drags both eyeballs out; still stay his hands in 
the. empty sockets and, deep fixed, tear with the;r 
nails the deep-set hollows of his eyes and empty 
cavities ; vainly he rages, and with excessive fury 

*'^ The hazard of light is o'er ; he lifts his head, 
surveys the regions of the sky with his empty 
sockets, and makes trial of the night. The shreds 
which still hang from eyes unskilfully plucked out 
he breaks away, and in triumph cries aloud to all the 
gods : " Spare now my land, 1 pray you ; now have I 
done justice, I have paid the debt I owed ; at last 
have I found night worthy of my wedlock." A 
hideous shower drenches his face and his mangled 
brow spouts streams of blood from his bursting 


By fate are « e driven ; yield ye to fate. No 
anxious cares can change the threads of its inevit- 
able spindle. Whate'er we mortals bear, whate'er 
we do, comes from on high ; ^ and Lachesis maintains 
the decrees of her distaff' which by no hand may be 
reversed. All things move on in an appointed path, 

2K 2 

* A Stoic doctrine. 



primusque dies dedit extremum. 

non ilia deo vertisse licet 

quae nexa suis currunt eausis. 990 

it cuique ratus prece non ulla 

mobilis ordo. multis ipsum 

metxiisse nocet^ multi ad fatum 

venere suum dum fata timent. 

Sonuere fores atque ipse suum 
duce non ullo luminis orbus 
molitur iter. 

Bene habet^ peractum est ; iusta persolvi patri. 
iuvant tenebrae. quis deus tandem mihi 
placatus atra nube perfundit caput ? 1000 

quis scelera donat ? conscium evasi diem, 
nil, parricida^ dexterae debes tuae ; 
lux te refugit. vultus Oedipodam hie decet. 


En ecce, rapido saeva prosiluit gradu 
locasta vaecors, qualis attonita et furens 
Cadmea mater abstulit nato caput 
sensitque ^ raptum. dubitat afflictum alloqui, 
cupit pavetque. iam malis cessit pudor. 
set haeret ore prima vox. 


Quid te vocem ? 
natumne ? dubitas ' natus es ; natum pudet ? 1010 
invite loquere, nale — quo avertis caput 
vacuosque vultus ? 

1 So Leo and Richter : censitque B, corr. 2 : sensimve raptum 
traxit afflictum A. 



and our first day fixed our last. Those things God 
may not change wliich speed on their way, close 
woven with their causes. To each his established 
life goes on, unmovable by any prayer. To many 
their very fear is bane ; for manj- have come upon 
their doom while shunning doom. 

®^^ The gates have sounded, and he himself, with 
none to guide and sightless, gropes his way. 
[Enter oedipus.] 

All's well, 'tis finished ; to my father have I paid 
my debt. How sweet the darkness ! What god, at 
length appeased, has shrouded my bead in this dark 
veil.'' Who has forgiven my crimes .'' 1 have escaped 
the conscious eye of day. Nothing, thou parricide, 
dost to thy right hand ; the light hath fled from 
thee. This is the face bccometh Oedipus. 
\^Enter jocasta.] 


See, there, with hurried step, frantic, beside her- 
self, Jocasta rushes forth, just as, in frenzied rage, 
the Cadmean mother ^ tore her son's head away and 
realized her deed. She hesitates, longs and yet fears 
to speak to the afflicted one. Now shame has given 
way to grief; but her first words falter on her 


What shall I call thee ? Son } Dost question 
it? Thou art my son; does ''son" shame thee? 
Though thou wouldst not, speak, my son — why dost 
thou turn away thy head, thy sightless face? 
* Agave. 




Quis frui tenebris vetat ? 
quis reddit oculos ? matrisj en matris sonus ! 
perdidimus operam. congredi fas amplius 
haut est. nefaiidos dividat vastum mare 
dirimatque tellus abdita et quisquis sub hoc 
in alia versus sidera ac solem avium 
dependet orbis alterum ex nobis ferat. 


Fati ista culpa est ; nemo fit fato nocens. 

lam parce verbis^ mater, et parce auribus, 1020 
per has reliquias corporis trunci peto, 
per inauspicatum sanguinis pignus mei, 
per omne nostri nominis fas ae nefas. 


Quid, anime, torpes ? socia cur scelerum dare 
poenas recusas ? omne confusum perit, 
incesta, per te iuris humani decus. 
morere et nefastum spiritum ferro exige. 
non si ipse mundum concitans divum sator 
corusca saeva tela iaculetur manu, 
umquam rependam sceleribus poenas pares, 1030 

mater nefanda. mors placet ; mortis via 



Who wills not that I enjoy my darkness ? Who 
restores my eyes ? My mother's, lo, my mother's 
voice ! I have worked in vain. 'Tis unlawful that 
we meet again. Let the vast sea roll between our 
impious selves, let remote lands separate, and if be- 
neath this world there hangs another, facing other 
stars and a straying sun, let it take one of us. 


Fate's is that fault of thine : by fate no one is 
made guilty. 

Now spare thy words, mother, spare my ears, by 
these remnants of my mangled body, I beseech thee, 
by the unhallowed offspring of my blood, by all that 
in our names is right and wrong.^ 

JocASTA [a*iV/e] 

Why art benumbed, my soul ? Since thou hast 
shared his guilt, why dost refuse to share his 
punishment ? Through thee, incestuous one, all 
grace of human law has been confused and lost. 
Die then, and let out thy impious spirit with the 
sword. Not if the father of the gods himself, shaking 
the universe, with deadly hand should hurl his 
glittering bolts at me, could I ever pay penalty equal 
to my crimes — I, a mother accurst. Death is my 
darling wish ; let the way of death be sought. 

' He prays her in the name both of their proper (mothei 
and Bon) and improper (husband and wife) relations. 


Agedum, commoda matri manum, 
si parricida es ; restat hoc operae ultimum. 

Rapiatur ensis ; hoc iacet ferro meus 
coniunx — quid ilium nomine haud vero vocas? — 
socer est. utrumne pectori infigam meo 
telum an patenti conditum iugulo inprimam ? 
eligere nescis vulnus ? hunc^ dextra, hunc pete 
uterum capacem, qui virum et nates tulit. 


Iacet perempta. vulneri immoritm- manus 1040 
ferrumque secum nimius eiecit cruor. 


Fatidice te, te praesidem et veri deum 
compello. solum debui fatis patrem ; 
bis parricida plusque quam timui nocens 
matrem peremi ; seel ere confecta est meo. 
o Phoebe mendax, fata superavi impia. 

Pavitante gi'essu sequere pallentes vias ; 
suspensa plantis efFerens vestigia 
caecam tremente dextera noctem rege. 
ingredere praeceps, lubricos ponens gradus, 1050 
i profuge vade — siste, ne in matrem incidas. 

Quicumque fessi corpore et morbo graves 
semanima trahitis pectora^ en fugio exeo ; 
relevate coUa. mitior caeli status 
post terga sequitur. quisquis exilem iacens 
animam retentat, vividos haustus levis 

1032 j-jV, OEDIPUS.] Come, lend thy hand against thy 
mother, if thou art parricide ; this lacks to cro\*-n thy 


10^* [To herself.] Nay, let me seize his sword; by this 
blade lies slain my liusband — nay, why not call him 
by his true name ? — my husband's father. Shall I 
pierce my breast with this, or thrust it deep into 
my bared throat ? Thou knowest not to choose a 
place? Strike here, my hand, through this capacious 
womb, which bore my husband and my sons ! 

[She stabs herself and falls dead.'\ 

There hes she slain. Her hand dies on the wound, 
and the sword is driven out by strong streams of 


Thee, O fate-reveal er, thee, guardian and god 
of truth, do I upbraid. My father only did I owe the 
fates ; twice parricide and more guilty than I feared, 
I have slain my mother; for 'tis by my sin that 
she is done to death. O lying Phoebus, I have out- 
done the impious fates. 

1047 With quaking step pursue thy darkling ways ; 
with faltering feet grope through blind night with 
apprehensive hand. Make haste, planting uncertain 
steps, go, speed thee, fly ! — but stop, lest thou stumble 
and fall upon thy mother. 

1°^- All ye who are weary in body and burdenea 
with disease, whose hearts are faint within you, see, 
I fly. Heave you ; lift your heads. Milder skies come 
when I am gone. He who, though near to death, 
still keeps some feeble life, may freely now draw 


concipiat. ite, ferte depositis opem ; 
mortifera mecum vitia terrarum extraho. 
violenta Fata et horridus Morbi tremor, 
Maciesque et atra Pestis et rabidus Dolor, IO6O 

mecum ite, mecum. ducibus his uti libet ! 


deep, life-giving draughts of air. Go, bear ye aid 
to those given up to death ; all pestilential humours 
of the land I take with me. Ye blasting Fates, thou 
quaking terror of Disease, Wasting, and black Pesti- 
lence, and mad Despair, come ye with me, with 
me. 'Tis sweet to have such guides. 

[ Exil, 



2l 525 





Prologue. — The old Amphitryon, before the altar of 
Jupiter, at the entrance of the house of Hercules in Thebes, 
relates how Hercules has gone to the lower world to bring 
thence to the realms of day the triple-headed Cerberus. 
Meanwhile, Lycus, taking advantage of the hero's absence, 
has slain king Creon and usurped his throne. The father, 
wife, and children of Hercules he has reduced to poverty, 
and holds them in durance here in Thebes, threatening to 
slay the sons, 

" Lest, when the boys attain maturer age, 
They should avenge their grandsire, Creon's, death." 

Amphitryon condoles with Megara, and counsels with her 
how they may escape the dangers of their present lot. 

Parode, or chorus entry. — The chorus of Theban elders, 
feeble, tottering old men, enters and bemoans the wretched 
fate that has befallen their city and the household of their 

First episode. — Now enters Lycus, the usurper. He in- 
solently taunts his victims on their helplessness, tells them 






Prologue. — Juno complains that she is fairly driven out of 
heaven by her numerous rivals, mortal women who have 
been deified and set in the sky, either they or their offspring, 
by Jupiter. Especially is her Miath hot against Hercules, 
against whom she has waged fruitless war from his infancy 
until now. But he thrives on hardship, and scorns her op- 
position. She passes in review the hard tasks which she has 
set him, and all of which he has triumphantly performed. 
Already is he claiming a place in heaven. He can be con- 
quered only by his own hand. Yes, this shall be turned 
against him, for a fury shall be summoned up from hell who 
shall fill his heart with madness ; and in this madness shall 
he do deeds which shall make him long for death. 

Parode, or chorus entry. — A vivid picture of the dawning 
day, when the stars and waning moon fade out before the 
rising sun ; when Toil wakes up and resumes its daily cares ; 
when through the fields the animals and birds are all astir 
with glad, new life. 

But in the cities men awaken to repeat the sordid round of 
toil, the greedy quest for gold and power. But, whether 
happily or unhappily, all are speeding down to the world of 
shades. Even before his time has Hercules gone down to 
Pluto's realm, and has not yet returned. 

First episode. — Megara enters and bewails the fresh woes 
that are ever ready to meet her husband's home-coming. 

2 L 2 527 


that Hercules will never return, belittles and scorns the 
hero's mighty deeds, and announces his intention of killing 
the sons. 

Amphitryon answers the slanders of Lycus against 
Hercules, and protests against the proposed barbarous treat- 
ment of the children, who are innocent of any harm. He 
reproaches Thebes and all the land of Greece, because they 
have so ill repaid the services of their deliverer in not com- 
ing to the rescue of his wife and children. Lycus gives 
orders to bum the hated race of Hercules, even where they 
kneel for refuge at the altar-side ; and threatens the elders 
who would thwart his will, bidding them remember that 
they are but as slaves in his sight. Yet the old men valiantly 
defy him, and warn him that they will withstand his attacks 
upon the children. 

But Megara shows them how foolish it is to contend 
against the king's unbounded power. Let them rather en- 
treat his mercy. Could not exile be suiistituted for death ? 
But no, for this is worse than death. Rather, let them all 
die together. Perhaps Lycus will allow her to go into the 
palace and deck her children in funeral garments ? Tliis 
prayer is granted, though Lycus warns them tliat they are to 
die at once. Left alone, Amphitryon chides Jupiter because 
he does not care for the children of his son : 

*' Thou know'st not how 
To save thy friends. Thou surely art a god. 
Either devoid of wisdom, or unjust." 

First choral interlude. — The chorus sings in praise of the 
mighty works of Hercules, describing these in picturesque 
detail, from the destruction of the Nemean lion to his last 
adventure, which has taken him to the world of shades, 
whence, alas, he will nevermore return. And meanwhile, 
lacking his protection, his friends and family are plunged in 
hopeless misery. 

Second episode. — Forth from the palace, all dressed in the 
garb of death, come Megara and her children. She is ready 
for the doom which has been pronounced upon them. She 
sadly recalls the fond hopes that she and her husband had 



She recounts the incidents of his long and difiBcult career, his 
heroic suffering at Juno's bidding. 

And now base Lycus has taken advantage of her husband's 
absence in the lower world to kill her father, Creon, king of 
Thebes, and all his sons, and to usurp the throne — 

" And Lycus rules the Thebes of Hercules ! " 

She prays her husband soon to come and right these wrongs, 
though in her heart she fears that he will never come again. 

Old Amphitryon tries to reassure her by recalling the 
superhuman valour and strength of Hercules, but without 

Now Lycus appears, boasting of the power which he has 
gained, not by long descent from a noble line, but by his own 
valour. But his house cannot stand by valour alone. He 
must strengthen his power by union with some princely house 
— he will marry Megara I Should she refuse, he will give to 
utter ruin all the house of Hercules. 

Meeting her at the moment, he attempts with specious 
arguments to persuade her to his plan. But Megara repulses 
his monstrous proposition with indignant scorn. Lycus at- 
tempts to defend his slaughter of her father and brother as 
done through the exigency of war, and pleads with her to 
put away her wTath; but all in vain, and in the end he bids 
his attendants heap high a funeral pyre on which to burn the 
woman and all her brood. 

When Lycus has retired, Amphitryon in his extremity 
prays to heaven for aid ; but suddenly checks himself with 
incredulous joy, for he hears approaching the well-known 
step of Hercules ! 

First choral interlude. — Verily fortune is unjust, for while 
Eurystheus sits at ease, the nobler Hercules must suffer 
unending hardships. His labours are briefly recapitulated. 
Now has he gone to hell to bring back Cerberus. Oh, 
that he may conquer death as all things else, and come back 
again, as did Orpheus by the charm of his lyre. 

Second episode. — Hercules enters, fresh from the lower 
world, rejoicing that he again beholds the light of day, 
and exulting in the accomplishment of his latest and most 
difficult task ; when suddenly he notices soldiers on guard, 



cherished for these sons. But these bright prospects have 
vanished now, for death is waiting to claim them all, herself 
as well. She will fold them in a last motherly embrace, and 
pour out her grief : 

" How, like the bee with variegated wing8, 
Shall I collect the sorrows of you all, 
And blend the whole together in a flood 
Of tears exhaustless ! " 

But perhaps even yet her absent lord has power to intervene 
in her behalf, though he be but a ghost. She prays despair- 
ingly that he will come to aid. Amphitrj'on would try the 
favour of Jove once more in this extremity : 

"I call on thee, O Jove, that, if thou mean 
To be a friend to these deserted children, 
Thou interpose without delay and save them ; 
For soon 'twill be no longer in thy power." 

But at tliis juncture, when no help seems possible from 
heaven or hell, to their amazed joy Hercules himself appears, 
and in the flesh. He perceives the mourning garments of his 
family and the grief-stricken faces of the chorus, and quickly 
learns the cause of all this woe. He at once plans vengeance 
upon the wretch who has wrought it all. He has, himself, 
forewarned by a "bird of evil omen perched aloft," entered 
Thebes in secret ; and now he will hide within his own palace 
and wait until Lycus comes to fetch the victims whom he 
has doomed to death. But first he briefly replies to Amphi- 
tryon's questions as to the success of his errand to the lower 

Second choral interlude. — The old men sing in envy of youth 
and complaint of old age : 

"But now a burden on my head 
Heavier than Aetna's rock, old age, I bear.' 

They hold that had the gods been wiser they would have given 
renewed 3'outh as a reward to the virtuous, leaving the degene- 
rate to fall asleep and wake no more. And yet, though 
oppressed by age, they still may " breathe the strain Mnemo- 
syne inspires," and sing unceasingly the deeds of Hercules : 



and his wife and children dressed in mourning garments. 
He asks what these things mean. Amphitryon answers 
briefly that Lycus has killed Creon and his sons, usurped 
the throne, and now has doomed Megara and her children 
to death. 

Hercules leaves his home at once to find, and take ven- 
geance on, his enemy, though Theseu?, whom he has rescued 
from the world of shades, begs for the privilege himself of 
slaying Lycus. Left with Amphitryon, in reply to the 
latter's questions Theseus gives in great detail an account 
of the lower world, its way of approach, its topography, 
and the various creatures who dwell within its bounds. 
After describing in particular the operations of justice and 
the punishment of the condemned, he tells how Hercules 
overcame Cerberus and brought him to the upper world. 

Second choral interlude. — Tlie chorus, with Theseus' words 
in mind, dwell in fancy still upon the lower world. They 
follow Hercules along " that dark way, which to the distant 
Manes leads," and picture the thronging shades, the " repul- 
sive glooms," and the " weary inactivity of that still, empty 
universe." They pray that it may be long ere they must go 
to that dread world, to which all the wandering tribes of 
earth must surely come. But away with gloomy thoughts ! 
Now is the time for joy, for Hercules is come again. Let 
animals and men make holiday, and fitly celebrate their 



"Alcides, the resistless son of Jove, 
Those trophies which to noble birth belong 
By him are all surpassed ; his forceful hand, 
Restoring peace, hath cleansed this monster- teeming land." 

Third episode, — Lycus enters and encounters Amphitryon 
without the palace. Him he bids to go within and bring out 
the victims to their death. To this Amphitryon objects on 
the ground that it \«)uld make him an accomplice in their 
murder. Whereupon Lycus enters the palace to do his own 
errand. The old man, looking after him, exclaims : 

" Depart ; for to that place the fates ordain 
You now are on the road " ; 

while the chorus rejoices that now the oppressor is so soon 
to meet his just punishment. Now the despairing cries of 
Lycus are heard within and then — silence. 

Third choral interlude. — All is now joy and exultation. 
?ear has departed, hope has come back again, and faith in 
che protecting care of the gods is restored. Therefore, let all 
Thebes give herself up to the rapture and triumph of this 

But now two spectres are seen hovering over the palace, 
one of whom introduces herself to the chorus as Iris, the 
ambassadress of Juno, and announces that her companion 
is a fiend, daughter of the night. Their mission hither is, 
at the comman<l of Juno, to drive Hercules into a madness, 
in which he shall slay his children. The fiend, indeed, 
makes a weak protest against such a mission, but speedily 
yields and goes darting into the palace, where we know that 
she begins at once her deadly work within the breast of 

The chorus bemoans the city's short-lived joy, and the new 
and terrible disaster that has fallen upon their hero's house. 
Soon they hear the mad shouts of Hercules, and know by 
these that the fiend has already done her fatal work. 

Exode. — A messenger hurries out of the palace, and 
describes the dreadful scenes that have just been enacted 



prince's world-wide victories, and their own deliverance from 
their recent woes. 

Third episode. — Hercules returns to his house, fresh from 
the slaying of Lycus, and proceeds to ofiFcr sacrifices of 
thanksgiving to Jupiter. But in the midst of the sacrifice 
the madness planned by Juno begins to come upon him. 
His sight is darkened, and his reason changed to delirium. 
Now he catches siglit of his children, cowering in fright ; 
he thinks they are the children of Lycus, immediately lets 
fly an arrow at one of them, and seizes a second, whom he 
dra-gs from the scene. Amphitryon, standing where he can 
see all that takes place, describes the wretched death of the 
second, and then the third, though Megara tries to save 
her last remaining child. She also falls before the blow 
of her husband, who thinks in his madness that she is his 
cruel stepmother, Juno. Hercules, re-entering, exults in his 
supposed victory over his enemies, and then sinks down in a 
deep faint. 

Third choral interlude. — The chorus calls upon heaven, 
earth, and sea to mourn for Hercules in this new disaster 
that has befallen him. They pray that he may be restored 
to sanity. In a long apostrophe to Sleep they pray that the 
soothing influences of this god may hold and subdue him 
until his former mind returns to its accustomed course. 
They watch his feverish tossings, and suffer with him in 
the grief which he so soon must realize. They close with a 
pathetic lament over the dead children. 

Exode. — Hercules wakes up in his right mind, bewildered 
and uncertain where he is. His eyes fall on the murdered 



there. Hercules was offering sacrifices of purification before 
Jove's altar, with his three sons and Megara beside him. 
All was propitious, when suddenly a madness seized on 
Hercules. He ceased his present sacrifice, declaring that 
he must first go to Mycenae and kill Eurystheus and his 
sons, and so make an end of all his enemies at once. In 
fancy he mounted a chariot and speedily arrived at Mycenae. 
His own sons seemed to his disordered vision to be Eurys- 
theus' sons ; and rushing savagely upon them, he soon had 
slain them all, and Megara herself. Then did he fall into 
a deep, swoonlike slumber, prostrate beside a mighty column, 
to which the attendants tied him securely with cords, lest he 
should awake and do further mischief. 

The palace doors are now thrown open, and the prostrate, 
sleeping Hercules is seen. Amphitryon warns the chorus 
not to wake him lest they restore him to his miseries. Soon 
Hercules awakes, and in his right mind. He seems to 
himself to have had a dreadful dream. He looks in wonder 
at the cords which bind his arms, at the fresh-slain corpses 
lying near, at his own arrows scattered on the floor. He 
calls aloud for someone to explain these things to him. 
Amphitryon advances and informs him that in his madness, 
sent by Juno's hate, he has destroyed his wife and all his 

And now Theseus, having heard that Lycus has usurped 
the throne of Thebes, and grateful for his own deliverance 
from the world of shades by Hercules, has come with an 
army of Athenian youth to aid his friend. He is shocked to 
find the hero sitting in deepest dejection, with head bowed 
low, and covered with a mourning veil. Quickly he inquires 
and learns the truth from Amphitryon. With noble and 
unselfish friendship, he offers his sympathy and help to 
Hercules, although the latter warns him to avoid the con- 
tagion which his own guilty presence engenders. He bids 
Hercules be a man, and give over his threats of self- 

Hercules gives the reasons why it is impossible for him to 
live. First, Juno's inveterate hate, which attacked him in 
his very cradle, pursues him still, relentlessly ; but most and 
worst of all, he has incurred such odium because of the 
murder of his wife and children that he will be henceforth 
an outcast on the earth. No land will give him refuge now. 



children, though he does not as yet recognize them as his 
own. He misses his familiar club and bow, and wonders 
who has been bold enough to remove these and not to fear 
even a sleeping Hercules. Now he recognizes in the corpses 
his own wife and children : 

" Oh, what sight is this ? 
My sons lie murdered, weltering in their blood ; 
My wife is slain. What Lycus rules the land ? 
Who could have dared to do such things in Thebes, 
And Hercules returned ? " 

He notices that Theseus and Amphitryon turn away and 
will not meet his gaze. He asks them who has slain his 
family. At last, partly through their half-admissions, and 
partly through his own surmise, it comes to him that this 
dreadful deed is his own. His soul reels with the shock, and 
he prays ^vildly for death. No attempts of his two friends 
to palliate his deed can soothe his grief and shame. At last 
the threat of old Amphitr^'on instantly to anticipate the 
death of Hercules by his own leads the hero to give over his 
deadly purpose. 

He consents to live — but where ? What land will receive 
a polluted wretch like him ? He appeals to Theseus : 

" O Theseus, faithful friend, seek out a place 
Far off from here where I may hide myself." 

Theseus offers his own Athens as a place of refuge, where 
his friend may find at once asylum and cleansing from 
his sin : 

" My land awaits thy coming; there will Mars 
Wash clean thy hands and give thee back thy arms. 
That land, Hercules, now calls to thee, 
Which even gods from sin is wont to free." 



Why should he live ? Let him die ; and let Juno's cup of 

happiness be full. 

Theseus reminds him that no man escapes unscathed by 
fate. Nay, even the gods themselves have done unlawful 
things, and yet live on and do not feel the obloquy their 
deeds should cause. As for a place of refuge, Athens shal' 
be his home. Tliere shall he obtain full cleansing for his 
crimes, a place of honour, and ample provision for his wants. 
All that a generous and grateful friend can give shall be 
his own. 

Hercules accepts this offer of Theseus, reflecting also that 
he might be charged with cowardice should he give in to 
his troubles and seek refuge in death. He accordingly takes 
a mournful farewell of his dead wife and children, commends 
their bodies to Amphitrj-on for burial, which it is not lawful 
for him to give, and so commits himself to the hands of his 
faithful friend : 

" I will follow Theseus, 
Towed like a battered skiff. Whoe'er prefers 
Wealth or dominion to a steadfast friend, 
Judges amiss." 


Prologue. — Neptune, appearing from the depths of the sea, 
briefly recounts the story of the overthrow of Troy, which 
he laments, states the present situation of the Trojan women, 
dwells upon the especial grief of Hecuba, and places the 
blame for all this ruin upon Minerva : 

"But, oh my town, once flourishing, once crowned 
W^ith beauteous-structured battlements, farewell ! 
Had not Minerva sunk thee in the dust. 
On thy firm base e'en now thou mightst have stood." 

To him appears Minerva, who, though she had indeed 
helped the Greeks to their final triumph over Troy, had been 
turned against them by the outrage of Cassandra on the 
nighty of Troy's overthrow. She now makes common cause 
with Neptune, and plans for the harassing of the Greek fleet 





Prologue. — Hecuba bewails the fall of Troy, and draws 
from it a warning to all who are high in power : 

"For of a truth did fortune never show 
In plainer wise the frailty of the prop 
That doth support a king." 

She graphically describes the mighty power and mighty fall 
of her husband's kingdom, and portrays the awe with which 
the Greeks behold even their fallen foe. She asserts that the 
fire by which her city has been consumed sprang from her, 
the brand that she had dreamed of in her dream before the 
birth of Paris. She dwells horribly npon the death of Priam, 
which she had herself witnessed. 

" But still the heavenly powers are not appeased." 



by storm and flood on the homeward vo^'age. The Greeks 
are to be taught a lesson of reverence : 

" Unwise is he whoe'er of mortals storms 
Beleaguered towns, and crushed in ruins wastes 
The temples of the gods, the hallowed tombs 
Where sleep the dead ; for he shall perish soon." 
[The tM'o gods disappear.] 

Hecuba, lying pi-one upon the ground before Agamemnon's 
tent, gives voice to her sufferings of body and of spirit; 
laments her accumulated losses of home, friends, station, 
liberty ; blames Helen for all, and calls upon the chorus of 
captive women to join her in lamentation. 

Parade, or chorua entry. — The chorus with Hecuba indulges 
in speculation as to the place of their future home, spealiing 
with hope of some Greeli lands, and deprecating others. 

First episode. — Talthybius, the herald, enters and an- 
nounces that the lots have been drawn, and reveals to each 
captive her destined lord : that Cassandra has fallen to 
Agamemnon, Andromache to Pyrrlius, Hecuba to Ul^'sses. 
At news of this her fate Hecuba is filled with fresh lamenta- 
tions, counting it an especial hardship that she should fall to 
the arch-enemy of her race. The herald also darkly alludes 
to the already accomplished fate of Polyxena, 

"At the tomb raised to Achilles doomed to serve." 

Hecuba does not as yet catch the import of these words. 

Cassandra now enters, M-aving a torch, and celebrates in a 
mad refrain her approaching union with Agamemnon. 
Hecuba remonstrates with her for her unseemly joy ; where- 
upon Cassandra declares that she rejoices in the prospect of 
the vengeance upon Agamemnon which is to be wrought out 
through this union. She contrasts the lot of the Greeks and 
Trojans during the past ten years, and finds that the latter 
have been far happier ; and even in her fall, the woes of 
Troy are far less than those that await the Greek chieftains. 
She then prophesies in detail the trials that await Ulysses, 
and the dire result of her union with Agamemnon : 

" Thou shalt bear me 
A fury, an Erinys from this land." 



The captives are to be alloted to the Greek chiefs, and even 
now the urn stands ready for the lots. 

Hecuba next calls upon the chorus of Trojan women to 
join her in lamenting their fallen heroes, Hector and Priam. 

Parode, or chcmi-s entry. — The chorus, under the direction 
of Hecuba as chorus leader, in true oriental fashion bewails 
the downfall of Troy, and in particular the death of Priam 
and Hector. 

First episode. — Talthybius announces that the shade of 
Achilles has appeared with the demand that Polyxena be 
sacrificed upon tlie hero's tomb. 

Enter Pyrrhus and Agamemnon, the former demanding 
that his father's request be carried out, the latter resisting 
the demand as too barbarous to be entertained. It is finally 
agreed to leave the decision to Calchas. He is accordingly 
summoned, and at once declares that only by the death of 
the maiden can the Greeks be allowed to set sail for home. 
And not this alone, but Astj-anax also must be sacrificed — 
hurled from the lofty Scaeun tower of Troy. 



Hecuba here falls in a faint and, upon being revived, again 
recounts her former high estate, sadly contrasts with tliat 
her present condition, and shudders at the lot of the slave 
which awaits her : 

' ' Then deem not of the great 
Now flourishing as happy, ere they die." 

First choral interlude. — The chorus graphically describes 
the wooden horse, its joyful reception by the Trojans into the 
city, their sense of relief from danger, and their holiday 
spirit ; and at last their horrible awakening to death at the 
hands of the Greeks within the walls. 

Second episode. — Tli# appearance of Andromache with 
Astyanax in her arms, borne captive on a Grecian car, is a 
signal for general mourning. She announces her own chief 
cause of woe : 

*' I, with my child, am led awaj', the spoil 
Of Mar ; th' illustrious progeny of kings, 
Oh, fatal change, is sunk to slavery. " 

Her next announcement comes as a still heavier blow to 

Hecuba : 

•' Polyxena, thy daughter, is no more ; 
Devoted to Achilles, on his tomb, 
An offering to the lifeless dead, she fell." 

Andromache insists that Polyxena's fate is happier than 
her own ; argues that in death there is no sense of misery : 

" Polyxena is dead and of her ills 
Knows nothing" ; 

while Andromache still lives to feel the keen contrast between 
her former and her present lot. 

Hecuba is so sunk in woe that she can make no protest, 
but advises Andromache to forget the past and 

" honour thy present lord, 
And with thy gentle manners win his soul " ; 



First choral interlude. — The chorus maintains that all 
perishes with the body ; the soul goes out into nothingness : 

" For when within the tomb we're laid, 
No soul remains, no hov'ring shade. 
Like curling smoke, like clouds before the blast, 
This animating spirit soon has passed." 

The evident purpose of these considerations is to discount 
the story that Achilles' shade could have appeared with its 
demand for the death of Polyiena. 

Second episode. — Andromache appears with Astyanax and 
recounts a vision of Hector which she has had, in which her 
dead husband has warned her to hide the boy away beyond 
the reach of threatening danger. After discussion with an 
old man as to the best place of concealment, she hides 
Astyanax in Hector's tomb, which is in the near background. 

Enter Ulysses, who reluctantly announces that Calchas has 
warned the Greeks that they must not allow the son of 
Hector to grow to manhood ; for if they do so, the reopening 
of the Trojan war will be only a matter of time, and the 
work will have to be done all over again. He therefore asks 
Andromache to give up the boy to him. Then ensues a war 
of wits between the desperate mother and the crafty Greek. 
She affects not to know where the boy is — he is lost. But 
if she knew, no power on earth should take him from her. 
Ulysses threatens death, which she welcomes ; he threatens 
torture, which she scorns. She at last states that her son is 
" among the dead." Ulysses, taking these words at their 
face meaning, starts off gladly to tell the news to the Greeks, 
hot suddenly reflects that he has no proof but the mother's 
word. He therefore begins to watch Andromache more 
narrowly, and discovers that her bearing is not that of one 
who has put her grief behind her, but of one who is still in 
suspense and fear. To test her, he suddenly calls to his 
attendants to hunt out the boy. Looking beyond her, he 

2 H 541 


this with the hope that she may be the better able to rear 
up Astyanax to establisli once more some day the walls and 
power of Troy. 

But the heaviest stroke is yet to fall. Talthybius now 
enters and announces with much reluctance that Ulysses has 
prevailed upon the Greeks to demand the death of Astyanax 
for the very reason tliat he may grow up to renew the 
Trojan war. The lad is to be luirled from a still standing 
tower of Troy. The herald warns Andromaclie that if she 
resist this mandate she may be endangering the boy's funeral 
rites. She yields to fate, passionately caressing the boy, 
who clings fearfully to her, partly realizing his terrible 
situation. The emotional climax of the play is reached, as 
she says to the clinging, frightened lad : 

" Why dost thou clasp me with thy hands, why hold 
My robes, and shelter thee beneath my wings 
Like a young bird ? " 

She bitterly upbraids the Greeks for their cruelty, and 
curses Helen as the cause of all her woe, and then gives the 
boy up in an abandonment of defiant grief : 

*' Here, take him, bear him, hurl him from the height, 
If ye must hurl him ; feast upon his flesh : 
For from the gods hath ruin fall'n on us." 

And now what more can happen ? Surely the depth of 
misfortune has been sounded. In the voice of Hecuba : 

" Is there an ill 
We have not ? What is wanting to the woes 
Which all the dreadful band of ruin brings ? " 

Second choral interhide. — The chorus first tells of the 
former fall of Troy under Hercules and Telamon ; and then 
refers to the high honours that had come to the city througli 
the translation of Ganytnede to be the cupbearer of Jove, and 
through the special grace of Venus. But these have not 
availed to save the city from its present destruction. 

Third episode. — Menelaiis appears, announcing that the 
Greeks have allotted to him Helen, his former wife, the 
cause of all this strife, to do with as he will. He declares 
his intention to take her to Greece, and there destroy her aa 
a warning to faithless wives. 



cries: "Good! he's found! bring him to me." Whereat 
Andromache's agitation proves that the boy is indeed not 
dead, but in hiding. Where is he hid ? Ulysses forces her to 
choose between the living boy and the dead husband ; for, 
unless her son is forthcoming, Hector's tomb will be invaded 
and his ashes scattered upon the sea. To her frantic prayer 
for mercy he says : 

" Bring forth the boy — and pray." 

Follows a canticrtm, in which Andromache brings Astyanax 
out of the tomb and sets him in Ulysses' sight : 

" Here, here's the terror of a thousand ships ! " 

and prays him to spare the child. Ulysses refuses, and, after 
allowing the mother time for a passionate and pathetic fare- 
well to her son, he leads the boy away to his death. 

Second choral interlude. — The chorus discusses the various 
places to which it may be its misfortune to be carried into 
captivity. It professes a willingness to go anywhere but to 
the homes of Helen, Agamemnon, and Ulysses. 

Third episode. — Helen approaches the Trojan women, 
saying that she has been sent by the Greeks to deck 
Polyxeua for marriage with Pyrrhus, this being a ruse tc 
trick the girl into an unresisting preparation for her death. 
Thin news Polyxena, though mute, receives with horror. 

2 M 2 543 


Hecuba applauds this decision, and thinks that at last 
heaven has sent justice to the earth : 

"Dark thy ways 
And silent are thy steps to mortal man ; 
Yet thou with justice all things dost ordain." 

Helen, dragged forth from the tent at the command of 
Menelaiis, pleads her cause. She lays the blame for all 
upon Hecuba and Priam : 

" She first, then, to the ills 
Gave birth, when slie gave Paris birth ; and next 
The agM Priam ruined Troy and thee, 
The infant not destroying, at his birth 
Denounced a baleful firebrand," 

Blame should also fall upon Venus, since through her 
influence Helen came into the power of Paris. 

Hecuba refutes the excuses of Helen. Slie scouts the idea 
that Venus brought Paris to Sparta. The only Venus that 
had influenced Helen was her own passion inflamed by the 
beauty of Paris : 

" My son was with surpassing beauty graced ; 
And thy fond passion, when he struck tliy sight. 
Became a Venus." 

As for the excuse that she was borne away by force, no 
Spartan was aware of that, no cries were heard. Hecuba 
ends by urging Menelaiis to carry out his threat. This, he 
repeats, it is his purpose to do. 

Third choral interlude. — The chorus sadly recalls the 
sacred rites in Troy and within the forests of Mount Ida, 
and grieves that these shall be no more. They lament the 
untimely death of their warrior husbands, whose bodies 
liave not received proper burial rites, and whose souls are 
wandering in the spirit-world, while they, the hapless wives, 
must wander over sea to foreign homes. They pray that 
storms may come and overwhelm the ships, and especially 
that Helen may not live to reach the land again. 

Exode. — Enter Talthybius, with the dead body of 
Astyanax borne upon the shield of Hector. He explains 
that Pyrrhus has hastened home, summoned by news of 



Andromache bitterly cries out upon Helen and her 
marriages as the cause of all their woe. But Helen puts the 
whole matter to this test : 

" Count this true, 
If 'twas a Spartan vessel brought me here." 

Under the pointed questions of Andromache she gives up 
deception, and frankly states the impending doom of 
Polyxena to be slaughtered on Achilles' tomb, and so to be 
that hero's spirit bride. At this the girl shows si^'us of 
joy, and eagerly submits herself to Helen's hands to be 
decked for the sacrificial rite. 

Hecuba cries out at this, and laments her almost utter 
childlessness ; but Andromache envies the doomed girl 
her fate. _^^ 

Helen then informs the women that the lots have been 
drawn and their future lords determined ; Andromache is 
to be given to Pyrrhus, Cassandra to Agamemnon, Hecuba 
to Ulysses. 

J'yrrhus now appears to conduct Polyxena to her death, 
and is bitterly scorned and cursed by Hecuba. 

Third choral interlude. — The chorus enlarges npon the 
comfort of company to those in grief. Hitherto they have 
had this comfort ; but now they are to be scattered, and 
each must suffer alone. And soon, as they sail away, they 
must take their last, sad view of Troy, now but a 
smouldering heap ; and mother to child will say, as she 
points back to the shore : 

" See, there's our Troy, where smoke curls high in air. 
And thick^ dark clouds obscure the distant sky." 

Exode. — The messenger relates with much detail to 
Hecuba, Andromache, and the rest the circumstances of 
the death of Astyanax and Polyxena : how crowds of 



insurrection in his own kingdom, and has taken Andro- 
mache with him. He delivers Andromache's request to 
Hecuba that she give the boy proper burial, and use the 
hollow shield as a casket for the dead. 

Hecuba and the chorus together weep over the shield, 
which recalls Hector in his days of might, and over the 
poor, bruised body of the dead boy,' sadly contrasting his 
former beauty with this mangled form. They then wrap 
it in such costly wrappings as tlieir state allows, place him 
upon the shield, and consign him to the tomb. 

Talthybius then orders bands of men with torches to 
burn the remaining buildings of Troy ; and in the light of 
its glaring flames and with the crasliing sound of its falling 
walls in their ears, Hecuba and her companions make their 
way to the waiting ships, while the messenger urges on their 
lagging steps. 


Prologue. — The old nurse of Medea, alone upon the stage, 
laments that the Argo was ever framed, and that Medea had 
ever fled from Colchis. Then had she never been here in 
Corinth an exile and now deserted even by her husband, 
Jason. In describing Medea's distracted condition, the 
nurse first voices the fear of that violence which forms the 
catastrophe of the plaj'. Enter an old attendant with the 
two sons of Medea, who announces a new woe — that Creon, 
the king, has decreed the banishment of Medea and her 
children. The nurse repeats her warning note, and urges 
the attendant to keep the children out of the sight of their 
mother, who even now can be heard raving within, and 
vowing the destruction of her children and her husband. 
The attendant retires witli the children. 

Parade, or chorus entry. — The chorus of Corinthian women 
comes to the front of the palace to inquire the cause of Medea's 
cries, which they have heard, and to profess their attachment 
to her. From time to time Medea's voice can be heard from 
within as she prays for death and calls down curses upon 
Jason. The nurse, at the suggestion of the chorus, undertakes 
to induce her mistress to come forth, that converse with her 



Greeks and Trojans witnessed both tragedies, how both 
sides were moved to tears at the sad sight, and how both 
victims met their death as became their noble birth. 

Andromache bewails and denounces the cruel death of her 
son, and sadly asks that his body be given her for burial ; 
but she is told that this is mangled past recognition. 

But Hecuba, having now drained her cup of sorrow to the 
dregs, has no more wild cries to utter ; she almost calmly 
bids the Grecians now set sail, since nothing bars their way. 
She longs for death, complaining that it ever flees from her, 
though she has often been so near its grasp. 

The messenger interrupts, and bids them hasten to the 
shore and board the ships, which wait only their coming to 
set- sail. 


Prologue. — Medea, finding herself deserted by Jason, calls 
upon gods and furies to grant her vengeance. She prays for 
destruction to light upon her rival, and calls down curses 
upon Jason. She thinks it monstrous that the sun can still 
hold on his way, and praj's for power to subvert the whole 
course of nature. She finally realises that she is impotent 
save as she has recourse to her old sorceries, which she has 
long since laid aside, and resolves upon them as a means of 

Parade, or chorus entry. — A chorus of Corinthians chants 
an epithalamium for the nuptials of Jason and Creiisa. First, 
in Asclepiadean strains, they invoke the gods to be present 
and bless the nuptials. The strain then changes to quick, 
joyful Glj'conies in praise of the surpassing beauty of the 
married pair. Changing back to Asclepiads, the clioms 
continues in extravagant praise of Jason and his bride, 



friends may soothe her grief. The nurse goes within, leaving 
the chorus alone upon the stage. 

First episode. — Medea comes forth from the palace to 
explain to the chorus her position and unhappy condition. 
She deplores the lot of women in general, and especially in 
relation to man-iage, and enlists the sympathy of the chorus 
in her attempt to secure some revenge for her wrongs. They 
confess the justice of her cause and promise to keep her 

Creon announces to Medea that she must leave his realm 
at once, for much he fears that she will take her revenge 
upon him and upon his house. She pleads for grace, and 
bewails her reputation for magic power; she assures the 
king that he has notliing to fear from her, and affects com- 
pliance with all that has taken place. Creon, while still 
protesting that she cannot be trusted, yields in so far that he 
grants her a single day's delay. 

Medea tells the chorus that her recent compliance was 
onlj' feigned, and openly announces her intention before the 
day is done of slaying Creon, his daughter, and Jason. She 
debates the various methods by which this may be accom- 
plished, and decides, for her own greater safety, upon the 
help of magic. 

First choral interlude. — The course of nature is subverted. 
No longer let woman alone have the reputation for falsehood ; 
man's insincerity equals hers. In poetry the fickleness of 
both should be sung, just as in history it is seen. Though 
Medea, for her love of Jascm, left her native land and braved 
all the terrors of the deep, she is now left all forsaken and 
alone. Verily truth and honour have departed from the 

Second episode. — Jason reproaches Medea for her intem- 
perate speech against the king, which has resulted in her 
banishment, and shows her that he is still concerned for her 
interests. She retorts with reproaches because of his in- 
gratitude, and proceeds to recount all that she had done for 
him and given up in his behalf. Jason replies that it was 
not through her help, but that of Venus, that he had escaped 
all the perils of the past, and reminds her of the advantages 
which she herself had gained by leaving her barbarous land 



congratulates him on his exchange from Medea to Creiisa, 
and finally, in six lines of hexameter, exults in the licence of 
the hour. 

First episode. — Hearing the epitlialaminm, Medea goes into 
a passion of rage. She recounts all that she has done for 
Jason, and exclaims against his ingratitude. Again, vnih 
shifting feelings she pleads Jason's cause to herself and 
strives to excuse him, putting all the blame upon Creon. 
Upon him she vows the direst vengeance. Meanwhile the 
nurse in vain urges prudence. 

Creon now enters, manifesting in his words a fear of 
Medea, and bent upon her immediate banishment. Medea 
pleads her innocence, and begs to know the reason for her 
exile. She reviews at length her former regal estate and 
contrasts with this her present forlorn condition. She claims 
the credit for the preservation of all the Argonautic heroes. 
Upon this ground she claims that Jason is hers. She begs of 
Creon some small comer in his kingdom for her dwelling, but 
the king remains obdurate. She then prays for a single 
day's delay in which Ut say farewell to her children, who 
are to remain the wards of the king. This prayer Creon 
reluctantly grants. 

First choral interlude. — Apropos of ^Medea's reference to 
the Argonautic heroes the chorus sings of the dangers which 
those brst voyagers upon the sea endured; how the natural 
bounds which the gods set to separate the lands have now been 
removed— and all this for gold and this barbarian woman. 
(The chorus is nowhere friendly to Medea, as in Euripides.) 
The ode ends with a prophecy of the time when all the earth 
shall be revealed, and there shall be no " Ultima Thule." 

Second episode. — Medea is rushing out to seek vengeance, 
while the nurse tries in vain to restrain her. The nurse 
soliloquizes, describing the wild frenzy of her mistress, and 
expressing grave fears for the result. Medea, not noticing 
the nurse's presence, reflects upon the day that has been 
granted her by Creon, and vows that her terrible vengeance 
shall be commensurate with her sufferings. She rushes off 
the stage, while the nurse calls after her a last warning. 

Jason now enters, lamenting the difficult position in which 



for Greece. He even holds that his marriage into the royal 
family of Corinth is in her interest and that of her chihlren, 
since by this means their common fortunes will be mended. 
He offers her from his new resources assistance for her exile, 
which she indignantly refuses, and Jason retires from her 
bitter taunts. 

Second choral interlude. — The chorus prays to be delivered 
from the pangs of immoderate love and jealousy, from exile, 
and the ingratitude of friends. 

Third episode. — Aegeus, in Corinth by accident, recognizes 
Medea, and learns from her her present grievous condition 
and imminent exile. She begs him to receive her into his 
kingdom as a friend under his protection. This he promises 
with a mighty oath to do. 

Medea, left alone with the chorus, explains to it still more 
in detail her plans. 8he will send her sons with gifts to the 
new bride, which, by their magic power, will destroy her and 
all who touch her. She adds that she will also slay her two 
sons, the more to injure Jason. The chorus, while protesting 
against this last proposal, ofTers no resistance. 



he finds himself. He asserts that it is for his children's sake 
that he has done all, and hopes to be able to persuade Medea 
herself to take this view. Medea comes back, and at siglit 
of Jason her fury is still further inflamed. She announces 
her intended flight. But whither shall she flee ? For his 
sake she has closed all lands against herself. In bitter 
sarcasm she accepts all these suS'erings as her just punish- 
ment. Then in a flash of furj' she recalls all her services to 
him and contrasts his ingratitude. She shifts suddenly to 
passionate entreat\% and prays him to pity her, to give back 
all tliat she gave up for him, if she must needs flee ; she 
begs him to brave the wrath of Creon and flee with her, and 
promises him her protection as of old. In a long series of 
quick, short passages they shift from phase to phase of 
feeling, and finally Medea prays that in her fligiit she may 
have her children as her comrades. Jason's refusal shows how 
deeply he loves his sons, and here is suggested to Medea for 
the first time the method of her direst revenge. Jason now 
yields to her assumed penitence and grants her the custody 
of the children for this day alone. When Jason has with- 
drawn, she bids the nurse prepare the fatal robe which she 
proposes to send to her rival by the hands of her children. 

Second choral interlude. — The chonis opens on the text, 
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," and continues 
with a prayer for Jason's safety. It then recouuts the sub- 
sequent history of the individual Argonauts, showing how 
almost all came to some untimely end. They might indeed be 
said to deserve this fate, for they volunteered to assist in 
that first impious voyage in quest of the golden fleece ; but 
Jason should be spared the general doom, for the task had 
been imposed upon him by his usurping uncle, Pelias. 

Third episode. — The nurse in a long monologue recites 
Medea's magic wonders of the past, and all her present 
preparations. Then Medea's voice is heard, and presently 
she comes upon the stage chanting her incantations. She 
summons up the gods of Tartara to aid her task ; 
recounts all the wonders which her charms can work ; 
describes her store of magic fires and other potent objects. 
Then breaking into quicker measure, as if filled with a fuller 
frenzy, she continues her incantations, accompanied by wild 
crie^ and gestures. She finally dispatches her sons to Jason's 
bride with the robe she has anointed with her magic drugs 



Third choral interlude. — The chorus, dwelling upon Medea's 
proposed place of refuge, sings the praises of Athens, sacred 
to the Muses. It contrasts with this holy city the dreadful 
deed which Medea intends, and again vainly strives to 
dissuade her. 

Fourth episode. — Medea, sending for Jason, with feigned 
humility reproaches herself for her former intemperate words 
to him, and begs only that he use his influence for the 
reprieve of their children from exile. To assist him in this, 
she proposes to send the children themselves, bearing a 
gorgeous robe of golden tissue (which she has anointed with 
magic poison) as a wedding present to the bride. Upon this 
errand Jason retires, attended by his little sons. 

Fourth choral interJude. — The chorus, with full knowledge 
of the fatal robe, pictures the delight of the bride at its re- 
ception, and laments her fearful doom. 

Fifth epimde.— This episode is in four parts. 

The attendant returns with the children and announces to 
Medea that her gifts have prevailed for their reprieve. (The 
attendant retires.) 

Medea contrast* the assured career of her children with 
her own hapless condition ; then remembers her resolve and 
with softening heart laments their dreadful fate. She 
hastily sends them within the palace. Left alone, she again 
struggles between her mother-love and her resolve not to 
leave her children subject to the scorn of her foes. (She 
here leaves the stage to wait for tidings from the royal 
house. ) 

Then follows a monologue by the chorus leader discussing 
the advantages of childlessness. No reference is made to the 
passing events. 

Medea returns just in time to meet a messenger who 
breathlessly announces the death of Creon and his daughter. 
At the request of Medea he gives a detailed account of the 
reception of the magic robe and crown, the bride's delight, 
and her sudden and awful death, in which her father also 
was involved. He urges Medea to fly at once. She an- 
nounces her intention to do so as soon as she has slain her 
children ; and then rushes into the house. 



and charged with her cnrses. She hastens out in the opposite 

Third choral interlude. — The chorus notes and describes 
Medea's wild bearing, and prays for her speedy departure 
from their city. 



Fifth choral interlude. — This consists of a single strophe 
and antistrophe in which the chorus calls upon the gods to 
restrain Medea's mad act. Then are heard within the house 
the shrieks first of the two children, then of one, then silence, 
the chorus meanwhile wildly shouting to Medea to desist 
from her deadly work. 

The exode. — Jason appears in search of Medea that he may 
avenge on her the death of the royal pair ; but most he fears 
for his children. The chorus informs him that they are 
already slain within the palace by their mother's hand. He 
prepares to force an entrance into the house. 

But now Medea appears in a chariot drawn by dragons. 
She defies Jason's power to harm her. Jason replies by re- 
proaching her with all the murderous deeds of her life, which 
have culminated in this crowning deed of blood. She in turn 
reproaches him and his ingratitude as the cause of all. A 
storm of mutual imprecations follows, and Medea disappears 
with the bodies of her two sons, denying to Jason even 
the comfort of weeping over their remains. 


Prologue. — Venus complains that Hippolytus alone of all 
men sets her power at naught and owns allegiance to her 
rival, Diana. She announces her plan of revenge : that 
Phaedra shall become enamoured of her stepson, that Theseus 
shall be made aware of this and in his rage be led to slay his 
son. If Phaedra perish too, it will but add to the triumph 
of the goddess' slighted power. 

Hippolytus comes in from the chase and renders marked 
homage to Diana. He is warned by an aged officer of the 
palace "to loathe that pride which studies not to please." 
Inquiring the meaning of this warning, he is told to recognize 
the presence of Venus, too, and to include her in his 
devotions ; but from this advice he turns away in scorn. 



Tht. exode. — A messenger cornea running in from the 
direction of the palace, and announces that the king and his 
daugliter are dead. The eager questions of the chorus bring 
out the strange circumstances attending this catastrophe. 
Medea enters in time to hear that her magic has been suc- 
cessful, and ignoring the nurse's entreaties to flee at once, she 
becomes absorbed in her own reflections. And now in her 
words may be seen the inward struggle between maternal 
love and jealous hate as she nerves herself for the final act of 
vengeance. The purpose to kill her children grows upon her, 
resist it as she may, until in an ecstasy of madness, urged on 
by a vision of her murdered brother, she slays her first 
son ; and then, bearing the corpse of one and leading the 
other by the hand, she mounts to the turret of her house. 
Here with a refinement of cruelty she slays the second son in 
Jason's sight, disregarding his abject prayers for the boy's 
life. Now a chariot drawn by dragons appears in the air. 
This Medea mounts and is borne away, while Jason shouts 
his impotent curses after her. 


Prologue. — Hippolytus, in hunting costume, appears in the 
court of the palace, which is filled with huntsmen bearing 
nets and all sorts of hunting weapons, and leading dogs in 
leash. The young prince, in a long rambling speech, assigns 
places for the hunt, and their duties to his various servants 
and companions. He ends with an elaborate ascription of 
praise to his patroness Diana, as goddess of the chase, and 
with a prayer to her for success in his own present under- 
taking. The whole sj)eech is in lyric strain, the anapaestic 
measure, most commonly employed by Seneca. 



Parade, or chorus entry. — The chorus of Troezenian women 
deplores the strange malady that has befallen the young 
queen. They relate how 

" This is the third revolving day 

Since, o'erpowered by lingering pains, 
She from all nourishment abstains. 
Wasting that lovely frame with slow decay." 

At the conclusion of the lyric part of the chorus, tlie 
queen, closely veiled, in company with her aged nurse, is 
seen coming from the palace gates. 

First episode.— 'F\x\\ of anxiety, the nurse strives to indulge 
her mistress' every whim. Phaedra answers feebly at first, 
but suddenly, to the amazement of her companion, her 
speech is filled with the language of the chase, and she again 
relapses into her mute lethargy. At last, under the insistence 
of the nurse to probe her m\'stery, Phaedra confesses that 
the wretched fate of her house pursues her, too, and that she 
now feels the toi'ments of love ; and though she does not 
speak his name, the truth at last is clear that Hippolytus is 
the object of her passion. The nurse recoils in horror and 
shame fiom this confession. 

Phaedra describes how she has struggled against her 
unhappy love, but in vain, and is now resolved on death in 
order to save her honour. At this the nurse throws all her 
influence in the opposite scale, arguing that, after all, the 
sway of Venus is universal, that it is only human to love, 
and that this is no reason for casting away one's life. She 
even proposes to acquaint Hippolytus with her mistress' 
feelings, and strive to win his love in return. This proposal 
Phaedra indignantly rejects. The nurse then offers to fetch 
from the liouse certain philtres w hich will cure the queen of 
her malady. The queen reluctantly consents to this, and the 
nurse retires into the palace. 




Parodt, or chorus entry. — The technical chorus entry is 
entirely lacking in this play. While the chorus may be 
assumed to have entered and to have been present during 
the long interview between Phaedra and her nurse, which 
forms the first episode, still its presence is in no way 
manifested until the end of this interview. 

First tpisode. — Phaedra bewails her present lot, in that she 
has been forced to leave her native Crete, and live in 
wedlock with her father's enemj'. And even he has now 
deserted her, gone to the very realms of Dis, in company 
with a madcap friend, to seduce and bear away the gloomy 
monarch's queen. But a worse grief than this is preying on 
her soul. She feels in her own heart the devastating power 
of unlawful love, which has already destroyed all the natural 
interests of her life. 8he recalls her mother's unhappy 
passion ; but this was bearable compared with her own. For 
Venus has, from deadl}- hatred of her family, filled her with 
a far more hopeless love. She does not name the object of 
her passion, but from her guarded references it is clear that 
Hippolytus, her stepson, is meant. 

The nurse urges her mistress to drive this passion from 
her breast, moralizing upon the danger of dela}'. Has not 
her house already known sinful love enough ? Such love is 
dangerous, for it cannot long be hid. Granting that The-seus 
may never return to earth, can her sin be concealed from her 
father ? from her grandsires, both gods of heaven ? And 
what of her own conscience ? Can she ever be happy or at 
peace with such a sin upon her soul ? She pictures her 
mistress' passion in all its hideousness. Besides, it is most 
hopeless, since Hippolytus, woman-hater that he is, can 
never be brought to respond to it. Phaedra yields to these 
arguments and entreaties of the nurse, and says that now 
she is resolved upon death as her only refuge. Here- 
upon the nurse (the usual role) begs her not to take this 
desperate course, and undertakes to bend Hippolytus to 
their wilL 

I. 2 N 557 


First choral interhide. — The chorus prays that love may 
never come upon its breast with immoderate power, and 
relates instances of the resistless sway of Venus and her son. 

Second episode. — Phaedra, standing near the doors of the 
palace, suddenly becomes agitated, and utters despairing 
cries. The chorus, inquiring the cause of these, is told to 
listen. At first there is only a confused murmur from 
within ; but this soon resolves itself into the angry denuncia- 
tions of Hippolytus and the pleading tones of the nurse. By 
these Phaedra learns that the nurse has indeed revealed the 
fatal secret to Hippolytus under an oath that he will not 
betray the truth to anyone, and that the youth has received 
the announcement with horror and scorn. He breaks forth 
into bitter reproaches against all womankind. Ho regrets 
that his lips are sealed by his oath, else would he straightway 
reveal to Theseus all his wife's unfaithfulness. 

Phaedra, on her side, reproaches the nurse for betraying 
her secret. She angrily dismisses lier, and, after exacting an 
oath of silence from the chorus, goes out, reiterating her 
resolve to die, and suggests that she has one expedient left 
by which her name may be preserved from infamy and her 
sons from dishonour. 

Second choral interlude. — The chorus prays to be wafted 
far away from these scenes of woe ; and laments that the 
hapless queen had ever come from Crete, for then she would 
not now De doomed by hopeless love to self-inflicted death. 




First choral tjiterlude.— The chorus sings at length npon 
the anivonal and irresistible sway of love. 

Second episode. — On the inquiry of the chorus as to how 
the queen is faring, the nurse describes the dreadful effect 
which this malady of love has already produced upon her. 
Then the palace doors open, and Phaedra is seen, reclining 
upon a couch, attended by her tiring women. She rejects all 
the beautiful robes and jewels which they offer, and desires 
to be dressed aa a huntress, ready for the chase. 

The nurse prays to Diana to conquer the stubborn soul of 
Hippolytua and bend his heart toward her mistress. At this 
moment the youth himself enters and inquires the cause of 
the nurse's distress. 

Thereupon ensues a long debate, in which the nurse chides 
Hippolytus for his austere life and argues that the pleasures 
of life were meant to be enjoyed, and that no life conies to 
its full fruition unless youth is given free rein. The young 
man replies by a rhapsody on the life of the woods, so full of 
simple, wholesome joys, and so free from all the cares of life 
at court and among men. He compares this with the Golden 
Age, and traces the gradual fall from the innocence of that 
time to the abandoned sin of the present. He concludes 
with laying all the blame for this upon woman. 

Phaetlra now comes forth, and, seeing Hippolytus, falls 
fainting, but is caught in the young man's arms. He 
attempts to reassure her and inquires the cause of her 
evident grief. After much hesitation, she at last confesses 
her love for him and begs him to pity her. With scorn and 
horror he repulses her and starts to kill her with his sword ; 
but, deciding not so to stain his sword, he throws the weapon 
away and makes off toward the forest. 

The nurse now plans to save her mistress by inculpating 
Hippolytus. She accordingly calls loudly for help, and tells 
the attendants who come rushing in that the youth has 
attempted an assault upon the queen, and shows his sword 
in evidence. 

Second choral interlude. — The chorus dwells upon and 
praises the beauty of Hippolytus, and discourses upon the 
theme that beauty has alwajs been a dangerous possession, 
citing various mythological instances in proof of this. 

2 N 2 559 


Third episode. — A messenger hurriedly enters with the 
announcement that the queen has destroyed herself by the 
noose. The chorus, though grieved, manifests no surprise at 
this, and is divided as to a plan of action. And now enters 
Theseus, M'ho demands the cause of the lamentations of the 
servants, which may be heard from within the palace. He 
learns from the chorus the fact and manner, but not the 
cause, of Phaedra's death. 

The palace doors are now thrown open and the shrouded 
body of tlie queen is discovered within. Theseus, in an 
agony of lamentations, seeks to know the cause of his queen's 
death. He at length discovers a letter clasped in her dead 
hand, by which he is informed that Phaedra has slain herself 
in grief and shame because her honour has been violated by 
the king's own son, Hippolytus. Thereupon Theseus curses 
his son, and calls on Neptune to destroy him, offering this as 
one of the three requests which, in accordance with the 
promise of the god, should not be denied. 

Here enters Hippolytus, hearing the sound of his father's 
voice. He looks in amazement upon the corpse of Phaedra, and 
begs his father to explain her death. Theseus, supposing that 
liis son conceals a guilty conscience, makes no direct answer, 
but inveighs against the specious arts of man. This strange 
speech, and still more the manner of his father, now show 
Hippolytus that he hin)self is connected in his father's mind 
with Phaedra's death ; and he seeks to know who has thus 
calumniated hiui. The wrath of Theseus now breaks over all 
bounds. He charges his son with the dishonour and murder 
of his wife, and with withering scorn taunts him with his 
former professions of purity. Hippolytus protests his in- 
nocence, but Theseus continues obdurate, and produces the 
fatal letter in proof of his statements. Then the youth 
realizes the terrible mesh of circumstances in which he i-? 
taken ; but, bound by his oath of secrecy, he endures in 
silence. After Theseus has pronounced the doom of exile 
upon him, and retired within the gates, he himself goes forth 
to seek his comrades and acquaint them with his fate. 

Third choral interlude. — The chorus reflects upon the pre- 
carious life of man, lauds the golden mean, and prays for the 
blessings of life without conspicuous fame. No man can 
hope for continued security in life, when such a youth as 
Hippolytus is driven off by Theseus' ire. It laments that no 




Third episode. — Theseus, just returned to earth from Hades, 
and with all the horrors of the lower world still upon him, 
briefly refers to his dreadful experiences and his escape by 
the aid of Hercules. Then, hearing the sounds of lamenta- 
tion, he asks the cause. He is told by the nurse that Phaedra, 
for some reason which she will not disclose, has resolved on 
immediate self-destruction. Rushing into the palace, he 
encounters Phaedra just within. After urgent entreaties 
and threats from Theseus, she confesses that she is deter- 
mined to die in order to remove the stain upon her honour ; 
and without mentioning the name of him who has ruined her, 
she shows the sword which Hippolytus has left behind in 
his flight. This is at once recognized by Theseus, who flies 
into a wild passion of horror, rage, and bitter scorn. He 
vows dire vengeance upon his son, which shall reach him 
wherever he may flee ; and ends by claiming from Neptune, 
as the third of the boons once granted him, that the god 
will destroy Hippolytus. 

Third choral interludt.— The chorus complains that while 
nature is so careful to maintain the order of the heavenly 
bodies, the atmospheric phenomena, the seasons, and the pro- 
ductiveness of wealth, for the affairs of men alone she has no 
care. These go all awry. Sin prospers and righteousness is 



longer will his steeds, his lyre, his wonted woodland haunts 
know the well-loved youth ; and reproaches the gods that 
they did not better screen their guiltless votary. 

Exode. — The last words of the chorus are interrupted by 
the approach of a messenger, who hastily inquires for the 
king. As the latter comes forth from the XJ^ilace the mes- 
senger announces the death of his son. At the king's request 
he gives a detailed account of the disaster : how Hippolytus 
was driving his fiery coursers along the shore, when Neptune 
sent a monstrous bull from out the sea, which drove the 
horses to a panic of fear ; how the car was at length dashed 
against a ragged cliff, and Hippolytus dragged, bruised and 
bleeding, by the maddened horses ; how, thougli yet living, 
he could not long survive. Theseus expresses pleasure at his 
son's sufferings, and bids that he be brought into his presence 
that he maj' behold his punishment. 

The chorus interjects a single strophe, acknowledging 
Venus as the unrivalled queen of heaven and earth. 

Diana now appears to Theseus and reveals to him the 
whole truth, explaining the infatuation of the queen, the 
fatal letter, and the wiles of Venus. The father is filled with 
horror and Diana tells him that he may yet hope 
for pardon for his sin, since through the wiles of Venus, 
which she herself could not frustrate, the deed was done. 

Here the dying Hippolytus is borne in by his friends. 
In his agony he prays for death ; but by the voice of his 
loved goddess he is soothed and comforted. Aftera touching 
scene of reconciliation between the dying prince and his 
father, the youth perishes, leaving Theseus overcome with 




in distress. Verily, it does not at all profit a man to strive 
to live uprightly, since all the rewards of life go to the vain 
and profligate. While the case of Hippolytus is not men- 
tioned, it is clearly in mind throughout. 

Exode. — A messenger, hurrying in, announces to Theseus 
the death of his son. Theseus receives the news calmly and 
asks for & detailed account. The messenger relates how 
Hippolytus had yoked his horses to his car and was driving 
madly along the highway by the sea, when suddenly the 
waves swelled up and launched a strange monster in the 
form of a bull upon the land. This monster charged upon 
Hippolytus, who fronted the beast with nnshaken courage. 
But in the end the horses became unmanageable through 
fright, and dragged their master to his death among the 
rocks. The body of the hapless Hippolytus has been torn in 
pieces and scattered far and wide through the fields ; and 
even now attendants are bringing these in for burning on the 
pyre. Theseus laments, not because his son is dead, but 
because it is through his, the father's, act. 

The chorus expatiates upon the fact that the blows of fate 
fall heavily upon men of exalted condition, but spare the 
humble. The great Theseus, once a mighty monarch, but 
now so full of woe, is au example of this truth. It has not 
profited him to escape from Hades, since now his son has 
hastened thither. 

But now their attention is turned to Phaedra, who appears, 
wailing aloud, and with a drawn sword in hand. She rails 
at Theseus as the destroyer of his house, weeps over the 
mangled remains of Hippolytus, confesses to Theseus that 
her charge against his son was false, and ends by falling 
upon the sword. 

Theseus, utterly crushed by the weight of woe that has 
fallen upon him, prays only that he may return to the dark 
world from which he has just escaped. 

The chorus reminds him that he will find ample time for 
mourning, and that he should now pay due funeral honours to 
his son. Whereat Theseus bids all the fragments be hunted 
out and brought before him. These he fits together as best 
he can, lamenting bitterly as each new gory part is brought 
to him. 

He ends by giving curt command for the burial of Phaedra, 
with a prayer that the earth may rest heavily upon her. 




Prologue. — Dialogue between Oedipus and the priest of 
Zeus, who discloses the present plague-smitten condition of 
the people, and prays the king for aid since he is so wise. 
The fatherly regard of Oedipus for his people, in that he has 
already sent a messenger to ask the aid of the oracle, is 

The answer of the oracle : first reference to an unexpiated 
sin. Short question and answer between Oedipus and Creon, 
the messenger, bringing out the facts of Laius' death. 

The irony of fate : Oedipus proposes, partly in his own 
interest, to seek out the murderer. As yet there is no 
foreshadowing of evil in the king's mind. At the end of the 
prologue Oedipus remains alone upon the stage. 

Parode, or chorus entry. — The chorus enlarges upon the 
distresses of the city, and appeals to the gods for aid. 

First episode. — The curse of Oedipus upon the unknown 
murderer is pronounced, and the charge is made by Tiresias 
(who long refuses to speak, but is forced to do so by Oedipus), 
" Thou art the man." Oedipus' explanation of Tiresias' 
charge : it is a plot between the latter and Creon. The facts 
of Oedipus' birth are hinted at. Tiresias prophesies the 
after-life of the king, with the name but thinly veiled. 





Prologue. — In the early morning Oedipus is seen lamenting 
the plague-smitten condition of his people. He narrates how 
he had fled from Corinth to av'oid the fulfilment of a dreadful 
oracle, that he should kill his father and wed his mother. 
Even here he cannot feel safe, but still fears some dreadful 
fate that seems threatening. He describes with minute 
detail the terrors of the pestilence which has smitten man 
and beast and even the vegetable world. He prays for death 
that he may not survive his stricken people. Jocasta 
remonstrates with him for his despair and reminds him that 
it is a king's duty to bear reverses with cheerfulness. 

Parade, or chorus entry. — The chorus appeals to Bacchus, 
relating how the descendants of his old Theban comrades 
are perishing. It enlarges upon the distresses of the city, 
and deplores the violence of the plague. The suflierings of 
the people are described in minute detail. 

First episode. — Creon, returned from the consultation of 
the oracle at Delphi, announces that the plagne is caused by 
the unatoned murder of Lalus, former king of Thebes. 
Oedipus anxiously inquires who the murderer is, but is told 
that this is still a mystery. Creon describes the scene at 
Delphi in the giving of the oracle. Oedipus declares himself 
eager to hunt out the murderer and inquires why the matter 
has been left so long uninvestigated. He is told that the 
terrors of the Sphinx had driven all other thoughts out of 
the people's mind. 

The irony of fate : Oedipus pronounces a dreadful curse 
upon the murderer of Laius and vows not to rest until he 
finds him. He inquires where the murder took place and 
how. At this moment the blind old Tiresias enters, led by 
his daughter, Manto. Tiresias tries by the arts of divination 
(which are described with the greatest elaboration) to ascer- 
tain the name of the murderer, but without avail ; and says 
that recourse must be had to necromancy, or the raising of 
the dead. 



First choral interlude. — The chorus reflects upon the oracle 
and the certain discovery of the guilty one. Ideal picture 
of the flight of the murderer. While troubled by the charge 
of Tiresias, the chorus still refuses to give it credence. 
After all, the seer is only a man and liable to be mistaken. 
Oedipus has shown himself a wiser man by solving the riddle 
of the Sphinx. 

Second episode. — Quarrel of Oedipus and Creon based 
upon the charges of the former. Oedipus' argument : The 
deed was done long ago, and Tiresias, though then also a 
seer, made no charge. Now, when forced by the recent 
oracle, the seer comes forward with Creon. This looks like 
a conspiracy. Creon pleads for a fair and complete investi- 
gation. Jocasta tries to reconcile the two, but in vain, and 
Creon is driven out. Jocasta relates the circumstances of 
Lai'us' death, which tall3' in all details but one with the 
death of one slain by Oedipus. A terrible conclusion begins 
to dawn upon the king. He tells his queen the story of his 
life and the dreadful oracle, the fear of the fulfilment of 
which drove him from Corinth. At the end of this episode 
the death of Laius at the hands of Oedipus is all but proved, 
but the relation between the two is not yet hinted at. 

Second choral interlude. — Prayer for a life in accordance 
with the will of heaven. Under the shadow of impending 
ill, the chorus seeks the aid of God, meditates upon the doom 
of the unrighteous, and considers the seeming fallibility of 
the oracle. 

Third ejnsode. — A messenger from Corinth brings the news 
of Polybus' death, the supposed father of Oedipus, The irony 
of fate : the king is lifted up with joy that now the oracle 
cannot be fulfilled that he should kill his own father. Step 
by step the details of the king's infancy come out, which 
reveal the awful truth to Jocasta. To Oedipus the only 
result of the present revelation is that he is probably 
base-bom. Jocasta triea to deter Oedipus from further 

Strophe and antistrophe. — A partial interlude, while they 
wait for the shepherd who is to furnish the last link in the 
chain of evidence. The chorus conjectures as to the wonder- 
ful birth of Oedipus ; possibly his father is Pan, or Apollo, 
or Mercury, or Bacchus. 



First choral interlude. — The chorus sings a dithyrambic 
strain in praise of the wonderful works of Bacchus, No 
reference is made to the tragedy which is in progress. 

Second epifode. — Creon returns from the rites of necro- 
mancy in which he had accompanied Tiresias, and strives to 
avoid telling the result of the investigation to the king. 
Being at last forced to reveal all that he knows, he describes 
with great vividness of detail how Tiresias has summoned 
up the spirits of the dead, and among them Laius. The 
latter declare* that Oedipus himself is the murderer, having 
slain his father and married his mother. Oedipus, strong in 
the belief that Polybus and Merope of Corinth are his 
parents, denies the charge, and after a hot dispute orders 
Creon to be cast into prison, on suspicion of a conspiracy 
with Tiresias to deprive Oedipus of the sceptre. 

Second choral interlude. — The chorus refuses to believe the 
charge against Oedipus, but lays the blame of all these ills 
upon the evil fate of Thebes which has pursued the Thebans 
from the first. 

Third epinode. — Oedipus, remembering that he had slain a 
man on his way to Thebes, questions Jocasta more closely as 
to the circumstances of Laius' death, and, finding these 
circumstances to tally with his own experience, is convinced 
that he was indeed the slayer of Laius. 

At this point a messenger from Corinth, an old man, 
announces to Oedipus the death of Polybus, the king of 
Corinth, and the supposed father of Oedipus. The latter is 
summoned to the empty throne of Corinth. A quick succes- 
sion of questions and answers brings to light the fact that 
Oedipus is not the child of Polybus and Merope, but that the 
messenger himself had given him when an infant to the 
Corinthian pair. Tliis announcement removes the chief 
support of Oedipus against the charges of Tiresias, and now 



The shepherd, arriving, also seeks to keep the dreadful 
truth from the king, but a second time the passion of Oedipus 
forces the truth from an unwilling witness. At last the 
whole story comes out, and Oedipus realizes that he has 
slain his father and wed his mother. 

Third choral interlude. — The utter nothingness of human 
life, judged by the fate of Oedipus, who above all men was 
successful, wise, and good. It is inscrutable ; why should 
such a fate come to him ? The chorus laments the doom of 
the king as its own. 

Exode. — The catastrophe in its final manifestations. A 
messenger describes the lamentations and suicide of Jocasta, 
the despair of Oedipus, and the wild mood in which he 
inflicts blindness upon himself. He comes upon the stage 
piteously wailing and groping his way. He prays for death 
or banishment at the hands of Creon, who is now king. He 
takes a tender farewell of his daughters and consigns them 
to Creon's care. 

The play ends with the solemn warning of the chorus " to 
reckon no man happy till ye witness the closing day ; until he 
pass the border which severs life from death, unscathed by 



he rushes blindly on to know the rest of the fatal tmth. 
The shepherd is summoned who hsid given the baby to the 
old Corinthian. He strives to avoid answering, but, driven 
on by the threats of Oedipus, he at last states that he had 
received the child from the royal household of Thebes, and 
that it was in fact the son of Jocaata. At this last and awful 
disclosure Oedipus goes off the stage in a fit of raving 

Third choral interlw.U. — The chorus reflects upon the 
dangerous position of the man who is unduly exalted, and 
illustrates this principle by the case of Icarus. 

Exode. — Although there is a short chorus interjected here 
(lines 980-997) on the inevitablenesa of fate, all the remainder 
of the play is really the exode, showing the catastrophe in 
its final manifestation. A messenger describes with horrible 
minuteness how Oedipus in his ravings has dug out his eyes. 
At this point Oedipus himself comes upon the stage, rejoicing 
in his blindness, since now he can never look upon his shame. 
And now Jocasta appears, having heard strange rumours. On 
learning the whole truth, she slays herself on the stage with 
Oedipus' sword. The plays ends as the blind old king goes 
groping his way out into darkness and exile. 


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